Posts   |   WhatsApp vs WeChat in Africa

February 1, 2016
WhatsApp vs WeChat in Africa

This is one of the great stories that this site loves. It has all of the elements: South-South trade and investment, rising middle classes and smart phones, big companies squaring off in Africa, emerging market multi-nationals, and a little-known African company (outside of Africa and tech circles) that the world should know more about. Andrew England of The Financial Times published a good round-up of the story on January 29 – it’s the story of the looming showdown between WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) and WeChat (owned by Tencent of China; which is 46% owned by Naspers of South Africa) for the texting and chatting publics of Africa’s middle classes.

Some highlights from the story:

“One of China’s largest internet companies is intensifying its efforts to crack the African market with a bid to disrupt Facebook’s WhatsApp with a rival messaging service.”

“Tencent has teamed with Africa’s largest media company, Naspers, to introduce its social media app across the continent. The service, WeChat, has more than 650m active monthly users in China, and it is cheaper than SMS.”

“The Chinese-South African joint venture is betting on the rapid growth of smartphone sales to young people, who are increasingly using their mobile phones to shop, bank, search for jobs, listen to radio and order taxis and takeaways.”

Naspers holds a 46.5 per cent stake in Tencent, making it one of the highest profile examples of South African and Chinese companies joining forces to expand across the continent. Its initial investment of $34m for the shareholding has paid off spectacularly, helping Naspers become South Africa’s biggest company by value and its chairman Koos Bekker to become a billionaire.”


You can see the full article here – WhatsApp vs WeChat