WeChat (Chinese: 微信; pinyin: Wēixìn; literally “micro message”) is a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent in China, first released in January 2011. The app is available on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian platforms. Languages supported include traditional/simplified Chinese, English, Indonesian, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Malay, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Hindi and Russian. WeChat is supported on Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, and 4G data networks.
WeChat provides multimedia communication with text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, photo/video sharing, location sharing, and contact information exchange. WeChat supports social networking via shared streaming content feeds and location-based social plug-ins (“Shake”, “Look Around”, and “Drift Bottle”) to chat with and connect with local and international WeChat users.
Photos can be taken and embellished with artistic filters, captions, and placed into a personal photo journal for sharing with other users. User data is protected via an on-demand contact list backup and retrieval to/from the cloud. WeChat claims to provide a social networking platform that emphasizes user privacy and fast response performance.
Registration is completed through Facebook Connect, mobile phone SMS/VM, or Tencent QQ. The application was initially launched as Weixin in China in January 2011, with international language support in October 2011, and re-branded as WeChat in April 2012. It is being promoted in India via gaming site Ibibo, in which Tencent holds a stake.
The app is available in the App Store for iTunes, Google Play Store for Android, BlackBerry App World and Marketplace for Windows Phone.