WeChat has become a true lifestyle in China. The platform that started with messages and sharing moments of your life, has now transformed into an essential app for every Chinese person. For the Chinese, daily life would become inconvenient without WeChat.
WeChat has developed over recent years to become a payment means for online and offline shopping, renting public bicycles, and calling cabs – to name a few examples. In this article, we’d like to take a look into how daily life with WeChat looks like for the average Chinese user. We followed two Chinese locals in how WeChat is integrated into their daily life.
An Di, female and 26 years old, moved to Beijing in search of a better life. She works at an internet company, has no own house, no car and doesn’t earn a lot of money. Her boyfriend lives in another country
At 08:00 Monday morning, a loud bell rang. An turned off her alarm through her barely opened eyes, unlocked her phone and clicked on the green little WeChat icon. There were nearly 1,000 unread messages in the group chat related to her job. An really didn’t want to work as soon as she woke up, as it ruined her mood too much. She opened the WeChat moments function as she wondered what her friends had been up to recently, to keep her mind from her job.
Her friend Taozi who loves fitness, got up at 6 o’clock in the morning and shared nine sexy fitness selfies (figure 1). Andie hits the like button at the bottom of the app.
Mag, a classmate from primary school, sells foreign products like beauty and fashion items. Since very early in the morning Mag’s WeChat moments has been filled facial masks, bags and milk powder among other things (figure 2). A purchase link is provided for the interested.
Then we have Susu, who always criticizes society. He posted another very long rant, satirizing the government’s incompetence in the middle of the night. Perhaps he was drunk again, An thought.
An Di sees an article from a public account that describes how you can survive in big cities without money, a house and a car. More than ten people already shared it in their WeChat moments. An clicked on it and read through the article. She couldn’t agree more with the provocative way the very long article had been written and also shared it in her WeChat moments without fear of showing it to her supervisors. Perhaps her supervisor will read the article and show some understanding and sympathy in the form of a higher bonus, she thought.
After browsing WeChat Moments for more than 10 minutes, An finally put down her phone and got ready to freshen herself up. It took about an hour to her work, so she decides to order McDonald’s (figure 3) to pick up on her way in one of the many mini apps in WeChat as soon as she finished freshening herself up. There are lots of mini apps (figure 4) in WeChat that makes it possible to order food, but this morning she decided to keep it simple.
Figure 3: McDonald’s mini app within WeChat
Figure 4: List of WeChat mini apps on the device
At 09:30 An arrived at the subway station, which is one kilometer away from the McDonald’s. An didn’t feel like walking though, so she used WeChat to unlock a nearby public shared bike (figure 5). After picking up her breakfast, An arrived at the office on time.
While An sat at her desk eating her hamburger, her boss walked past and told her with a straight face: “Remember to make the PowerPoint as soon as possible after you finish eating. I sent the relevant documents to you through WeChat yesterday.” An rolled her eyes at the manager’s back when she turned around.
An Di reluctantly opened the WeChat desktop client and downloaded the materials sent by her supervisor (figure 6). After quickly finishing her breakfast, she quickly went to work.
Figure 5: WeChat mini app for shared bikes
Figure 6: Sharing an attachment through WeChat
An opened the group chat shared with her friends to complain about today’s work. Before she could finish her sentence however, she received a message. Her boss had sent her a contact card and asked her to add the client for a work project.
An felt frustrated. She opened the chat with her friends in WeChat and vented: “Oh my God, you don’t know how annoying my boss is. She can’t even wait for me to finish my meal!”
After a busy day, An ordered food delivery from WeChat while on her way back home. Then, it suddenly occurred to her that today is her father’s 54th birthday!
It was too late to buy a birthday gift online, so she sent her father a message and gave him a red envelope with 999 RMB in WeChat (figure 7). After a short while, An received a phone call from her father. Her father thanked her for the kind words and the gift, but he promptly denied the money, knowing how hard An has to work for it.
Finally arriving home, An put down her bag. At this moment her phone rang again. It was a video call request (figure 8) from her boyfriend who was studying for a PhD in Europe. An had intended to tour through Europe with her boyfriend this year. Although they have a long-distance relationship at present, for the sake of maintaining the relationship, she and Zhu video call one hour through WeChat every day.
Figure 7: WeChat red envelope with a hidden
Figure 8: WeChat video call function
It was almost eleven o’clock as An and Zhu said good night to each other. She was about to turn off her phone, when An received a message on WeChat. It was a red envelope from Zhu with the message: “I love you, my darling.”
An was very delighted. “Today was a good day, despite how troublesome work was”, she thought to herself.
Part two will follow soon! Stay tuned for a look into how WeChat plays a role into the life of husband and father Hu Shuang soon!