Dear Whatsapp, Aren't You Threatened By WeChat?

  • Umno MP apologises for ‘careless’ remarks on Karpal
    Umno MP apologises for ‘careless’ remarks on Karpal

    Umno's Langkawi MP Datuk Nawawi Ahmad, who created a furore on social media for his insensitive remarks about the late Karpal Singh’s death, has finally issued a public apology. "I would like to express my deep remorse and regret on what transpired the last two days about my posting on my private Facebook account pertaining to a status of what... …

  • Pakatan MPs want bigger Parliament in polls boundary redrawing
    Pakatan MPs want bigger Parliament in polls boundary redrawing

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) federal lawmakers expressed today their openness to a larger Parliament created in the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation exercise to ensure... …

  • Karpal a great ‘son of the soil’, PKR’s Wan Azizah says
    Karpal a great ‘son of the soil’, PKR’s Wan Azizah says

    GEORGE TOWN, April 19 — With Karpal Singh’s passing, Malaysia has lost one of its greatest sons, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah said today. The PKR president, who was among the hundreds of people who... …

  • Karpal unflinching in fight for justice, says Kelantan MB
    Karpal unflinching in fight for justice, says Kelantan MB

    GEORGE TOWN, April 19 — Karpal Singh was a fearless leader who did not compromise in his fight for justice, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob said today. The PAS leader was among the... …

  • Ex-prime minister Abdullah backs Kelantan’s hudud bill
    Ex-prime minister Abdullah backs Kelantan’s hudud bill

    Former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (pic) has come out in support of the PAS-led Kelantan government’s plan to table a Private Members' Bill on hudud in Parliament. “What's wrong if the matter is brought to Parliament?" Bernama quoted him as saying in Putrajaya today. Kelantan had reportedly set up a technical committee to study... …

  • Will Bukit Gelugor seat go from father to son?
    Will Bukit Gelugor seat go from father to son?

    GEORGE TOWN, April 19 — The sudden death of Karpal Singh has also shifted the spotlight on his eldest offspring, Jagdeep Singh Deo, as the likeliest contender to fill in the now vacant Bukit... …

whatsapp-wtf

Whatsapp no doubt was the app that started the wave of mobile messaging, timed pefectly to coincide with the rise of smartphones. It was clearly the leader. But as the race goes on, I’m starting to doubt if Whatsapp can continue to stay at the top.

Whatsapp has failed to innovate. The app is still pretty much the same as it was a couple of years ago. It kept it basic. That was good for starters, but as time goes by, other messaging apps started to innovate. Apps like Tencent’s WeChat (or Weixin in Chinese), Line, and Kakaotalk have evolved beyond just being messaging apps.

I will just talk about WeChat since I’m spending quite a fair amount of time on it each day. WeChat has some interesting functions that allow you, for example, to make video calls, read news, backup your contacts on the cloud, search for people nearby to chat to, and more. All those features come as a “plug-in” on WeChat and users have a choice to install more, or remove them.

Grow with your users

Not to forget WeChat has emoticons, which I think is important for any messaging service in Asia. And WeChat has a much better user experience for its voice messages. Whatsapp’s voice messaging seriously sucks. Recording a voice message requires users to take multiple steps. WeChat needs just one step to send a voice message; plus, the recipient can listen to it almost instantaneously. Whatsapp’s just can’t compete on this front, period.

I know voice messaging, though huge in China, might not be an important function in the western part of the world. So not improving on that may be understandable. But WeChat beats Whatsapp on almost every front. Even its design feels much better than Whatsapp. Plus, WeChat has opened room for imagination by allowing developers to build applications - those plug-ins - on top of its platform. But Whatsapp has remained basic, apparently not wanting to improve and innovate.

I fear that Whatsapp may lose it mojo if it continues to rest on its laurels. I know Whatsapp has been doing work in Asia, Indonesia especially. But I don’t think that’s enough. Because if you want to talk distribution, Tencent (owner of WeChat) surely has more bargaining power. If you wanna talk about resources, Tencent also surely has more. Most importantly, WeChat has innovated with the times and let its 200 million users re-imagine what a simple messaging app could do, while Whatsapp stayed put with only tiny improvements in each update.

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  • Langkawi MP unrepentant, continues insults on late Karpal, says Facebook user The Malaysian Insider
    Langkawi MP unrepentant, continues insults on late Karpal, says Facebook user

    A Barisan Nasional MP whose Facebook posting poking fun at the death of Karpal Singh shocked Malaysians has again insulted the late DAP leader, this time comparing him to a hostile figure in Islamic history who fought against Prophet Muhammad. Facebook user Shamsul Kamal Ariffin Mohd Nasir, 42, told The Malaysian Insider that Langkawi MP,... …

  • Karpal’s car crashed into lorry, not the other way around, says Perak police The Malaysian Insider
    Karpal’s car crashed into lorry, not the other way around, says Perak police

    Initial investigations have revealed that Karpal Singh’s Toyota Alphard crashed into a five-ton lorry in the accident yesterday that claimed his life and that of his assistant, Perak police said today. State police chief Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani also dismissed rumours and speculation that the accident was caused by the lorry crashing... …

  • Told to ‘shut up’ on Twitter, Zul Noordin lashes back at Khairy The Malay Mail Online
    Told to ‘shut up’ on Twitter, Zul Noordin lashes back at Khairy

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — A feud is breaking out between former Perkasa vice president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin on Twitter. Told unequivocally by the minister... …