How one software company is eating the world

WeChat has completely changed the paradigm in Asia. Rethinking the world with the advantages of mobile first allowed them to take a large share of the Chinese and Asian consumer markets. They created a unique experience where social media, chat, news, shopping, payments and many more things are all available through the one app. This means that any phone a user buys can have the same experience when they download the app.

This model completely changes the paradigm in both traditional software and hardware practices.

On the software side, companies like Google and Apple have tried to create their own platform exclusive apps and software. This meant that in order to access their software ecosystem, a consumer needed to buy their phone. The core idea behind this is that it would keep users on their platform once they started using their apps.

WeChat turned this upside down by creating their own suite of high quality apps for every need imaginable. They then wrapped all these applications into the WeChat platform and made sure it was available for download on any phone. Now any person with a phone can have a rich app experience that is just as good as Apple and Google.

A side effect of WeChat’s rise was a major change in the hardware landscape. Since almost everyone had a WeChat account, any company that wanted to enter the phone marketplace did not need an extensive suite of apps anymore. Smaller phone companies had no big disadvantage compared to Apple and Google. As long as they could create a phone with desirable hardware features for consumers, they could compete. Unlike in North America, where Apple and Google own a significant share of the phone marketplace, Asia is split between many different phone manufacturers.

What can we learn from this? WeChat reimagined what the best possible experience could be with a mobile phone. They did not try to copy the existing models but took the latest capable technology, mobile phones, and created the best possible experience.

This is why large corporations can lose hold of a market. Their core infrastructure was built on older technology. New companies who work with the latest capable technologies will have a natural and powerful advantage in the market.

The leader of the market today may not necessarily be the leader tomorrow. — Ma Huateng, CEO WeChat and Tencent

This mindset of starting with the best capable technology could be applied to any industry. Take energy for example. In the developed world, electricity and power is passed along expensive electrical grid networks. Many developing countries are behind and do not have the same electrical infrastructure because of cost. However if they take the latest electrical technologies available such as solar, wind and hydroelectric, maybe they can skip building electrical grids. Buildings and homes can be completely self reliant through renewables.

If you remember one thing from this article, let it be this. How would you reimagine and build something if you started with the current technologies available today?


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