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It is also useful for international businesses and students/mentors overseas, since it is much more stable than FaceTime and Skype.

While in western countries social media platforms are strictly 'social', China has completely revolutionized this by creating an all-in-one platform, where messaging and feeds are fully integrated with other features that solve every day problems.

It was launched on the 21st of January 2011.

Created by Tencent, Weixin/WeChat had over 100million users the next year and has since been branded WeChat for the international market.

It is immensely popular here, with about 1 billion monthly active users, which is about 70% of the entire population.

First and foremost, there are a number of features linked with text messages, such as voice messaging, which are very handy when you're on-the-go and want to send messages to others or even to yourself as a vocal to-do list.

When you long-press on a message, you can do many things, some are common, but others are unique:
you can add it to your Favorites (as in bookmarking it for future reference);
set it as a reminder so you don't forget to respond to it;
translate it (which for foreigners is crucial);
recall it (take the message back; send it via email as chat history.

I love this last one most because you can also group messages together and forward them to someone else, which is much better than having to screenshot chats and it hogging up your storage space.

Additionally, you can also have video conferences with WeChat, both one-to-one and in a group.

This is useful for international businesses and students/mentors overseas, since it is very stable.

Don't get me wrong, I love words, but there is something else so simple and yet beautiful that I express myself with and cannot live without:

And WeChat has an entire sticker store full of them, coming in sets with everything from talking cats to anime to scenes from popular cartoons.

You can add, delete and share all your gifs, downloading the set, the single gif, or both.

You can even quickly and efficiently make a gif of yourself, or turn a meme into one if you wish.

Moving on from text messages, an important feature is connecting WeChat to your bank account, so you can send money through it.

This is extremely useful when you've just arrived and maybe don't have cash on you.

In most shops and restaurants, you can pay with WeChat, which replace bank/credit cards.

Additionally, you can also recharge the data on your phone using WeChat.

Linked with this, WeChat has launched Mini Programs in 2017, where businesses can create apps within WeChat.

A handful of these are programs for ordering food, calling a taxi, booking movie tickets, and buying train tickets.

I remember once I had to buy a cake for a friend, but the shop's physical menu was outdated.

By connecting to their WeChat account, I was able to view the updates menu, as well as send links and details to the other people organizing the party.

We were able to order it without a fuss, and had it delivered.

There are also gaming Mini Programs, of course, of which "Jump Jump" blew up with 400 million players in less than 3 days after launch.

All of this is linked with your WeChat contacts, so you can play with your friends without any security 'stranger-danger' issues.

All this is useful because it is truly all-in-one, and it saves lots of storage space to only download one app that does all.

There are now 580,000 mini programs within WeChat, and growing.

Cortesia di L.B.

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