<Editor's Pick>How to build a 1-billion-user super app ? Zhang Xiaolong may know the answer


No one knows that when remembering a phone call and adding a QQ account were replaced by adding a WeChat account. WeChat has become a tool that cannot be separated from everyday life. This popular application was launched by Zhang Xiaolong and led by the Guangzhou Research team in 2011. With excellent product design and exquisite grasp of human nature, together with the help of QQ, it broke through in the encirclement of competitors from inside and outside, and became a super application with one billion users, which is rare in the whole world.

WeChat was praised by Tencent's founder Pony Ma as the ticket for the mobile Internet that Tencent got, which shows its great strategic significance for Tencent. Although Tencent's biggest source of revenue is games, it is widely believed that Tencent's core assets and competitiveness are WeChat. WeChat successfully seized the opportunity of the rise of mobile Internet and achieved great success. It is considered to be a typical rich second generation. However, when the second generation achieves achievements beyond the previous generation, even more powerful, it cannot ignore the talents and efforts of the second generation.

The growth of WeChat empire

“The number of monthly active accounts of WeChat and WeChat (overseas version) reached 1.058 billion, an increase of 9.9% over the same period last year;

WeChat is now a must-have mobile app, with an installed rate of over 95%;

Chinese people spend 90 minutes online per day, 25% of the time spent on WeChat, more than five times the second place;

The official accounts are over 20 million, and the monthly active users exceed 900 million;

WeChat mini program is over 1 million, the developer is over 1.5 million, and the daily active users is as high as 280 million;

The mobile payment market exceeds 40 trillion, and WeChat payment accounts for half of the market;

WeChat is suitable for both young and old, urban and rural, and the penetration rate of the city of the first, second, third and fourth tiers is extremely high. ”

Zhang Xiaolong once said that he hopes that everyone will "leave after use WeChat and don't rely too much on it". This is like a boss who says to employee who over work to 12pm has to go home early. If you take his words as true and get off work after 7 o'clock, it is estimated that the boss will talk to you to improve performance. Without a broad user base, Zhang is not daring to say so. It is much different from other applications which has a lot of scams to seduce you to install and use.

WeChat has now become the standard of mobile phones, and even become the organ of the body, up to the 80-year-old woman, down to the three-year-old child, even illiterate and blind, can voice chat unimpeded.

The ambition of WeChat

WeChat's ambitions are not just about socializing, not just online payment, not just games, not just information flow, but all the things that can be done on mobile phones. It is not only a social tool, but also a marketing tool, and it is a paradox. It wants to be the container of all applications, the entrance of all traffic, the hub that connects everything, the operating system built on the operating system, and becomes a huge behemoth that engulfs everything.

If WeChat wants to go public

With a market value of more than 400 billion US dollars with 2 billion users, according to the unit user value estimate, WeChat valuation of 200 billion US dollars is not outrageous. Of course, FB globalization is doing better. There are more wealthy people in Europe and America, and the value of unit users is higher, but WeChat is superior in terms of duration and frequency of use.

It is said that WeChat supports half of Tencent's market value. If WeChat is listed separately, there is no doubt about 100 billion US dollars. This market value means that it can far exceed the already listed JD.com, Xiaomi and Meituan, surpassing the Ants Financial and DiDi Chuxing that have not yet been listed, ranked among the top 3 Internet companies in China.

In recent years, China Literature Limited and TME (Tencent Music Entertainment Group) have been listed independently at high prices. After receiving the benefits, it is possible for Pony Ma to continue to promote the independent listing of WeChat.

Mobile payments occupy half of the market

The mobile payment share of WeChat amateur is close to 40%, while Alipay is almost 53%. The two companies together account for more than 90% of the market share. There is basically no market that other companies can divide.

Such a ratio pattern is formed when Alipay subsidies are greater than WeChat payment, and WeChat pays to hide in the second-level "wallet" interface. The increase in the share of WeChat payment has caused a crisis for Alipay.

Valuable third-party servic

WeChat third-party service, train ticket, hotel button contracted to Tongcheng-Elong, this entrance contributed more than 90% of the flow to Tongcheng-Elong. Tongcheng-Elong is not even planning to do their own app. The company is currently queuing IPO, valuation is more than 40 billion Hong Kong dollars. When your wallet is less than ten yuan, and a bunch of buttons worth billions in your WeChat wallet, will it instantly create a rich illusion?

WeChat Moments' shopping sharing allowed Pinduoduo to sneak a bunch of unidentified people to bargain. In just over a year, Pinduoduo went to Nasdaq. The power of WeChat was really big and shocking.

There are so many small companies that live on WeChat development tools, can you imagine that you can earn a lot of money by developing a WeChat group management assistant.

Official account forest

WeChat relies on service accounts, subscription accounts, and corporate accounts to build a huge content ecosystem. Tens of millions of official accounts, such as all sentient beings, are attached to WeChat, and generate a large amount of information content, which is transformed into wealth through subscription distribution. The head account relies on advertising and rewards.

Say no to Apple

When Apple lifted the machete to charge for the WeChat reward, WeChat gave it a hard time, preferring to remove the reward function and not yielding. Just when everyone worried about WeChat, the always tough Apple actually confessed

Mobile Internet rules developed by itself

Toutiao and Tik Tok have been through a wave of WeChat Moments, but when Tencent realized that the situation was serious, they decisively blocked them. Under the premise of obeying laws and regulations, it is understandable to use their own advantages to attack opponents.

Although it is against opponents, the reasons need to be reasonable. Although acting according to the rules, as the court president in the popular TV series said: the right to make rules is in our hands, and the right to interpret is also owned by us. I said that you fouled, and you are fouled. This is the right to make rules, the core of the head rights is monopolized in the hands of a few giants.

At present, WeChat has not made rules indiscriminately. You see Tencent and Pony Ma's articles on WeChat moments everywhere. But the worry still cannot be eliminated.

The explosion of mini programs

The Mini program appeared two years ago. It is said that the application account was initially rejected by Apple. This innovative product that saves front-end development without the need to install, run out, and shield programming platform differences. In fact, it is a bit like a Java virtual machine. It is a secondary application that is parasitic on the platform. It is against the two platforms of iOS and Android. It is above the other apps and carries the ambition of WeChat to do OS. This year, it has completely ushered in the outbreak year, Alipay and Taobao. Toutiao has followed up on the bets.

Now that the mini program has penetrated hundreds of millions of users, if there is no limit to expansion, there is basically no Apple App Store.

Zhang Xiaolong, a man like a mystery

The power of WeChat is also the founder of Zhang Xiaolong. This programmer-born product manager has created the popular Foxmail. Not only that, he easily won 6000 high scores in the game Jump & Jump, and he is also a golf and tennis master. He seems to have found the trick to do things, as long as he decides to do something, he can do his best.

Zhang deliberately kept a distance from the business. When doing Foxmail, he was criticized by 360 CEO Zhou Hongyi for lack of business model, and even attracted People’s Daily to worry about his livelihood. But it is precisely the WeChat created by such a person that has become Tencent's ACE.

There is still a lot of room for the commercialization of WeChat, and it is not difficult to capitalize it. At present, the game department carrying the task of capitalizing for Tencent, but Tencent Games is already the world's number one game maker, and its domestic share is swallowed up, and not not easy to contain high-speed growth.

In the case of weak growth of Tencent games, WeChat commercialization will speed up. At present, WeChat moments can only see one advertisement a week.

WeChat is like a gold mine, with endless wealth and energy, waiting for Tencent to mine, and its power may far exceed your imagination.

The restraint of WeChat

WeChat is the best annotation of minimalism, and it is the key to its victory over QQ. It has been ridiculed for two thousand people to do a chat system, plus two buttons a year (Search and Top stories).

Read a lot of philosophy, understand human nature, low-key is the background of Zhang. Restraint is his motto, never violating. WeChat has implemented the idea of simple restraint from beginning to end. It is conceivable that someone will often go to him and say "I have a bold idea", or there are hundreds of billions of businesses that want to talk to him. It is already a lot of pains to constrain the internal staff's impulse to add functions to WeChat.

Frankly speaking, WeChat's product design is simple enough and restrained. It is truly based on user value. It is clear that it is a social tool. It is never free to add functionality to itself. It can be best proved by that the elderly to use it very well.

WeChat's restraint is not only reflected in product design, but also in personnel organization and enterprise management. As the core BG of Tencent, the number of people is less than two thousand (16 years), which is one of the least in all BG.

WeChat GM has more than a dozen people, VP is less, WeChat management Title is also quite low-key, assistant general manager is not responsible for helping the general manager buy tea and order takeaway, but to manage the position of a department.

Is restraint really so good?

Simple and restraint helps WeChat out of the old road that is different from the QQ Mobile. It is also worthy to praise thinking everything from the user's value. But from a commercial point of view, whether it is correct or right, it is worth discussing.

People are always accustomed to summing up the reasons for success, so that they can be replicated successfully according to the example, and even sell the experience to the masses. However, the reasons for real success are often complicated and deep, because the factors contributing to the situation include the right time, place and the people, not unilateral.

In the business, it will miss the opportunity to be too cautious. By contrast, Alibaba and Toutiao are more aggressive in business, and their development is also very good.

Of course, it is not good to be too aggressive or too cautious, but WeChat’s restrained is just right. To be honest, I don't know. Grasping the degree is difficult, and it depends entirely on the insight and wisdom of the leader.

The steady development of WeChat makes it unnecessary for WeChat to change the established strategy, because it needs to take risks. For the WeChat helm with one billion users, a little bit of modification will have a great impact. If there is a problem or development difficulties later, the invisible hand of the market will push WeChat to change. China has a population of 1.3 billion, and WeChat has a combined number of users of 1 billion. Wechat can maintain the rapid growth of the number of users in the past but it will only become more and more difficult to maintain this growth in the future. The advantage of the massive amount of people will disappear and the growth ceiling will appear. This is a problem that WeChat has to be faced but cannot be resolved.

Written at the end

The times keep moving forward, and only change is eternal.

Someone once threw the question "What is WeChat" to Zhang Xiaolong, the father of WeChat, Zhang answered with a slightly philosophical question: How do you use WeChat to decide what WeChat is for you.

With the great success of WeChat, Zhang is no longer silently speaking on the Internet. It is difficult for us to understand his piecemeal thoughts through this. What is Zhang thinking about? What will WeChat do next? Wait for time to give an answer.

Photo from: vcg.com

This is an article from Sina, translated by Xu Yin