China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has always had a chat app - but this week it has been completely revamped, metamorphosing from a fusty old IM-style app (called AliWangWang ) to the newly rolled out, mobile-oriented group messaging app that’s now called WangXin . The rebranded app - used by lots of sellers on Alibaba’s amateur shopkeeper marketplace, Taobao - is now more like Whatsapp, or the Chinese-made Weixin, and can send snippets of voice messages too.
Inevitably, this is still geared towards sellers on, and users of, the Taobao platform. So the WangXin app - along with its pre-existing PC app - will be useful to display better status messages about a seller’s online shop, make announcements, keep in touch with former and current customers, and inform your customers of shipping status, etc. The updated app should make such communication more multimedia, allowing for firing off voice messages or sending photos of a product.
But the WangXin app still can be used for fun stuff, so it works fine for friends keeping in touch as well - just like with local rivals such as Tencent’s Weixin, or Xiaomi’s own Miliao app. In addition, the revamped WangXin app has a location-based service (LBS) for finding fellow users nearby (pictured right) - just like Weixin’s.
Alibaba is expecting the reborn apps for Android and iPhone to have 15 million users by the end of the year. While that’ll be far off the 100+ million that have signed up for Weixin, it’d be quickly gaining on Miliao’s 17 million.
[Source: Techweb - article in Chinese]