WeChat expands to Macs, SA gaming

2014-03-13 13:03
The WeChat social network has 300 million subscribers. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The WeChat social network has 300 million subscribers. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Instant messaging application WeChat is making moves to establish itself as an alternate destination with a range of features and launches designed to attract users in new markets.

While massively popular in China with over 300 million users, WeChat is on a mission to expand to countries like South Africa.

The company on Thursday announced that it launched a "WeChat for Mac" application. This allows Apple computer owners to communicate via the platform.

It is available in English and Chinese and available for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and above operating systems.

WeChat also announced an expansion of its games portal. The WeChat Game Centre has been launched in SA and includes a number of games where players can compete against family and friends.

Mobile games

Mobile gaming has taken off largely because of the ease of game play and the fact that games are generally played in short bursts of time rather than involved sequences such as consoles.

WeChat has followed this trend with its first crop of mobile games.

The company launched Craz3 Match, 2 Days Match and GunZ Dash to its online platform and the expectation is that these features will play a role in converting users to the Tencent-owned firm.

WeChat is free to download but the company earns revenue from virtual products that it sells in games and stickers that people send to friends.

Facebook's purchase of instant messenger WhatsApp for $19bn has focused many on the revenue generated by these platforms.

According to Nomura International based in Hong Kong, WeChat users are worth about $7 each in terms of revenue to the company, compared to WhatsApp users which contribute around $1.

In 2014, WeChat is expected to generate $1.1bn, and the company is valued at $30bn.

News24 is part of 24.com, a subsidiary of Media24, which is in the Naspers stable. WeChat SA is a subsidiary of Naspers.

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