Tencent’s WeChat hits 1 billion milestone as Lunar New Year boosts monthly active users
WeChat hit the milestone of 1 billion monthly active users during the Lunar New Year in February, a “remarkable number” according to Tencent Holdings chief executive Pony Ma Huateng who disclosed the figure at a Two Sessions media briefing in Beijing on Monday.
The user numbers are up from 980 million in the third quarter of 2017, as reported in Tencent’s third quarter results.
More than 688 million WeChat users sent or received digital versions of hongbao, the traditional Chinese red packet containing cash and given as a gift during the new year holiday season, pushing the monthly active users of WeChat hongbao to 800 million, Ma revealed on Saturday, as reported by Chinese tech media 36Kr.
WeChat, known as Weixin in China, is the country’s dominant messaging app, while it also serves as an all-in-one platform for social networking, mobile payments, ride hailing, food delivery and more.
Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, recorded 2.13 billion monthly active users at the end of 2017, according to its fourth quarter earnings released in January, with the 2 billion mark passed in July 2017.
Hong Kong-listed Tencent, operator of WeChat, had a market capitalisation of US$525 billion as of noon Monday, higher than Facebook’s valuation of US$514 billion at the close of US trading on Friday.
WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by Facebook, reported 1.5 billion monthly active users as of fourth quarter last year.
WeChat is set to become more indispensable in the daily lives of many Chinese consumers under a project that turns it into an official electronic personal identification system.
The government of Guangzhou, capital of the southern coastal province of Guangdong, started in December a pilot programme that creates a virtual ID card, which serves the same purpose as the traditional state-issued ID cards, through the WeChat accounts of registered users in the city’s Nansha district. That trial will cover the entire province and expand across the country this year.
Two Sessions refers to the annual parliamentary meetings held by China’s top leadership.