Social messaging app WeChat thinks that the Philippines has a potential to make it big in mobile commerce. Oliver Ye, managing director of WeChat in the Philippines recently mentioned in a press conference that m-commerce has already arrived big in the Philippines, and that Filipinos have already embraced mobile banking. According to him, more Filipinos are now accessing content on their smartphones, and WeChat, along with other companies, are now allocating a big percentage of their marketing budget towards mobile marketing.
WeChat first announced that their launch in the Philippines last September. Before that, the company already has an active Facebook page and has been broadcasting their famous Lionel Messi advertisements on the Philippine TV. It was during that time too the other messaging apps, particularly Kakao Talk and LINE, launched similar campaigns in the country. It was also after these TV advertisements that WeChat started to gain traction in the country. While the China-based messaging app has not yet disclose any figures on its number of users in the Philippines, the fact that the company has been very active in its marketing campaign in the country might mean the potential for its app’s growth in the Philippines is viable – hence the marketing push is justified.
These days, one can sense WeChat’s presence at various Philippine trade events. The company has consistently launched fan contests on its Facebook page and has been improving their content tailored to the Philippine market. This marketing strategy is very similar to LINE, which chose to tailor their strategy to locally blend with the Filipino culture rather than just launching the messaging app with no fanfare. At the time of this writing, WeChat currently has 124,000 fans on its Facebook page and around 4,000 followers on Twitter. On the other hand, LINE Philippines has 133,000 fans on Facebook and around 2,000 followers on Instagram. To me, it seems that the battle for messaging app and mobile commerce dominance in the Philippines is far from over. As LINE mentioned during an exclusive interview with Vulcan Post, the company is focusing on expanding its user base first before thinking of revenue. This is perhaps true to other messaging platforms in the country, such as WeChat. Even if the country’s m-commerce potential is there, the one who has the higher number of users first might be the first to realize the Philippines’ true potential when it comes to mobile commerce. Also read: [Wow] Messaging app WeChat has over 100 million international Android downloads