Discover the Chatbot Uses Around the World

Have you ever wondered about chatbot uses around the world? As with anything else, different natures and cultures have different relationships to chatbots than we do. This is often because chatbot investment and adoption is tied to the market: they’re often used for commerce and connecting people. Chinese consumerism, for example, is what spurred global chatbot adoption in the first place.

If you’ve ever wondered how people use conversational UI in Africa or chatbots in Latin America, we’ve got a guide to chatbot examples in different cultures and regions. Each place has a sort of defining trait to their chatbot use — check them out below.

China, Where People Embraced Bots Years Ago

Chatbots may have become more popular in the western world in the past couple years, but the Chinese have been talking to bots using WeChat since 2013. China is pretty much the inventor of chatbot uses around the world.Due to various issues of product safety in the country, Chinese consumers often bombard brands and sellers with questions before making a purchase. To put up with the high volume of concerns, businesses developed consumer chatbots.

Most Chinese chatbots are at home on WeChat, China’s premier messaging platform, which services 889 million monthly active users as of Q4 2016. Use of chatbots helps users make informed buying decisions, but it’s not all so consumer-centric. Xiaoice, an AI developed by Microsoft, chats with users on the microblogging service Weibo, where she’s been incredibly popular.

Africa, Where Conversational UI is King

We often talk about chatbots as an answer to app fatigue, but in Africa the vast majority of people using conversational UI have never even touched an app.

Because an internet connection is scarce in sub-Saharan Africa, conversational UI via SMS chatbots for business has transformed life and culture for Africans. By talking to services via SMS, Africans are able to bank, supplement their education and make distant purchases without the need for an internet connection or app. While we’re just beginning to tap into chatbots’ potential in the west, it’s worth noting the innovation Africans have made using conversational UI in the past few years.

In Kenya, for example, services like M-Pesa allow Africans to transfer money between one another and bank for the first time. Services like iCow are focused on improving life by providing breeding advice to users. Many SMS-based educational services help tutor Africans and help with their learning.

Japan, Where Bot Personalities are Larger Than Life

Japan is no stranger to relating to fictional characters: from marrying videogame characters to crowd-sourcing pop stars, the Japanese are quick to self-identify with branded characters. Unique to the nation, Japanese bots are stellar examples of digital personalities. What else to expect from the country that gave us Tamagotchis way back in the 90s? Here, applications of chatbots often include care and companionship.

Take Gatebox for example: the device is essentially an Amazon Echo, but doubles as a companion for those who live alone. Western assistants like Siri or Alexa aren’t given a personality or backstory, but for Gatebox’s Japanese audience, the bubbly, anime-designed holographic cast is the main draw. Users can talk to her face-to-face at home, or text her while away. So far, just one character — Azuma Hikari — has been revealed, but more are on the way.

Europe, Just Dipping its Toes into Chatbots

While Europe was slower to invest in chatbots than American brands, VB Profiles identifies growth in the technology for the region. Here, the focus is less on virtual assistants and more on specialized productivity bots. Thanks to markets like the UK, Germany and France establishing themselves in the global market, chatbots for business is booming — alongside chatbot analytics platforms to help brands make the best investment.

Latin America, Where AI is Set to Boost the Economy

Citing low economic growth, Latin American nations are looking towards AI to boost the economy and overturn economic slowdown. This mostly includes smarter automation of public services and data, but chatbot investment is among the larger AI strategy, too. In fact, use of chatbots is already pretty popular for customer service and commerce; 83% of Brazilian financial service consumers said they’d be happy to trust financial advice generated by a computer.

There’s also interesting innovation coming out of the region in applications of chatbots; for example, BBDO Argentina designed a mesmerizing chatbot that allows museum visitors to talk one-on-one with displayed artworks. It serves as one of the great chatbot examples in different cultures as the region seeks to propel market growth.