Internet giant Tencent is all set to launch an enterprise edition of its popular messaging app WeChat. The new edition, named Qiye Weixin or Enterprise WeChat in English customized for business clients, is under beta testing and is expected to be rolled out in the next few months.
WeChat said in a statement that the enterprise messaging service is designed for work-related communication.”With WeChat being widely adopted in everyday life, more people have been discussing work-related subjects on WeChat with colleagues when they are off-work,” it said.
“While some enjoy it, some others find it a burden because WeChat mixes up their personal life and work,” said the Shenzhen-based company, adding the new enterprise service will help people enjoy a better work-life balance.
What are the new functions?
Enterprise accounts are similar to service accounts in some respects with some specificities:
Same visibility as service accounts (like a WeChat friend)
Can create many “sub-accounts” for different tasks, which enables to better structure information which is sent.
New services including automatic message and phone calls.
Unlimited number of messages can be sent
Can be used to send all kind of documents (PDF, Word, etc…)
Users can block messages while taking a break.
Higher level of security (users have to follow the account, and then be added manually by the account owner writing down their name, phone number and WeChat id). Account owner has to scan a QR code each time he logs in on top of writing down his user name of password. Data is encrypted.
According to Louis Song, Country Manager for Singapore and Malaysia, WeChat, Official Accounts allow brands to customize their messages and provide value-added services such as contests, promotional codes, or even make purchases in the application.
A “caucus race”
By starting developing an enterprise edition of WeChat, Tencent is stepping in a new territory — management of enterprises’ internal operations. The move is relevant in a way that Salesforce that is mostly meant for international companies has been sometimes sluggish in getting traction in the Chinese market.However, the move didn’t come as a surprise to many. Many Chinese companies like TechNode have been using the app already on a daily basis for internal communications. Similarly, Alibaba launched Dingtalk.com to attract business clients in 2014.While most of the Chinese enterprises started off copying a freemium enterprise social networking service called Yammer, one can assume that soon these services will make their products more similar to WeChat owing to its familiarity in the Chinese enterprises. Given the app’s ruling position in China’s social media world, the new app can be expected to soon catch up.
Enterprise WeChat is expected to be free and have both mobile and desktop versions. It currently claims to have over 650 million monthly active users.
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