How did Tencent take WeChat so far ahead of its rivals? The answer lies partly in the peculiarities of the local market. Unlike most Westerners, many Chinese possessed multiple mobile devices, and they quickly took to an app that offered them an easy way to integrate them all into a single digital identity. In America messaging apps had a potent competitor in the form of basic mobile-phone plans, which bundled in SMS messaging. But text messages were costly in China, so consumers eagerly adopted the free messaging app. And e-mail never took off on the mainland the way it has around the world, mainly because the internet came late; that left an opening for messaging apps.
But the bigger explanation for WeChat’s rise is Tencent’s ability to innovate. Many Chinese grew up using QQ, a PC-based messaging platform offered by Tencent that still has over 800m registered users. QQ was a copy of ICQ, a pioneering Israeli messaging service. But then the Chinese imitator learned to think for itself. Spotting the coming rise of the mobile internet, Tencent challenged several internal teams to design and develop a smartphone-only messaging app. The QQ insiders came up with something along the lines of their existing product for the PC, but another team of outsiders (from a just-acquired firm) came up with Weixin. When Tencent launched the new app, it made it easy for QQ’s users to transfer their contacts over to the new app.
Another stroke of brilliance came two years ago when the service launched a “red packet” campaign in which WeChat users were able to send digital money to friends and family to celebrate Chinese New Year rather than sending cash in a red envelope, as is customary. It was clever of the firm to turn dutiful gift-giving into an exciting game, notes Connie Chan of Andreessen Horowitz, a VC firm. It also encouraged users to bind together into groups to send money, often in randomized amounts (if you send 3,000 yuan to 30 friends, they may not get 100 yuan each; WeChat decides how much). That in turn led to explosive growth in group chats. This year, over 400m users (both as individuals and in groups) sent 32 billion packets of digital cash during the celebration.
21. Which of the following is mentioned in paragraph one?
A. On the mainland, mobile devices cost a lot.
B. Text messages are less expensive than messaging app in America.
C. Chinese people like messaging apps more than text messages.
D. American messaging apps are not free.
22. How did Tencent invent Weixin?
A. A team of PC insiders invented weixin for Tencent.
B. A team of outsiders acquired by Tencent invented Weixin.
C. Tencent asked the QQ insiders team to create a product.
D. Tencent copied a pioneering Israeli messaging service.
23. What is the outcome of the red packet campaign?
A. Users are increasing to form groups.
B. It caused people to send money in random amounts.
C. The gift-giving process became an exciting game.
D. It changed the way Chinese people send each other gifts.
24. The phrase “stroke of brilliance” means ______.
A. success B. chance
C. remarkable idea D. None of the above
25. According to the passage, the success of Weixin mainly attributes to ______
A. QQ’s strong user base. B. the lack of competitors.
C. local market opportunity and innovation. D. All of the above.