TWITTER BECOMES X
Elon Musk has officially renamed Twitter as “X”, aiming to transform it into a platform similar to the Chinese “all-in-one” app, WeChat.
From Twitter to X: Western WeChat, this change holds significant importance as it represents another milestone in Musk’s plan to emulate the success of the mega app WeChat. Having acquired Twitter for $44 billion in 2022, Musk has expressed his ambition to evolve the platform into something much larger, drawing inspiration from WeChat.
WHAT’S WECHAT AND HOW IT WORKS
WeChat is an app launched by Tencent in 2011 that is now used by nearly all of China’s 1.4 billion people. Therefore, this extremely comprehensive app provides a plethora of services, from messaging, voice and video calls, social media, food delivery, mobile payments, games, news to even being used as a dating app. Indeed, its integration into Chinese society is so deep that it is almost unthinkable to live without it.
Main features that make WeChat a behemoth:
- Messaging and social network: As an instant messaging app, WeChat allows its users to send words, emojis, and images, with contacts. They can also do audio and video calls. Users can also form WeChat groups with max 500 people.
- Social Media: People and companies can post images, contents and videos shared with the community. Companies also can open official accounts and stand out from other profiles.
- Payments services: WeChat’s “Wallet” feature allows people to link debit and credit cards; it is so convenient that most stores in China accept payments with WeChat. WeChat Wallet also allows you to manage bill payments, investments, and even apply for loans. Additionally, it’s even possible to pay via QR codes for online purchases and in stores.
- Ordering in a restaurant: At restaurants, the WeChat app can be used to scan the QR codes to order and pay for food and drinks. Besides restaurants, people also use WeChat for a lot of daily payments amounted to almost 500 billion yuan, or $69.9 billion according to WeChat Economic Report 2020
- Shopping: Shopping online in China is a very common way of shopping. JD is one of the main Chinese ecommerce platforms and in 2014 both signed a cooperation deal that allowed Chinese people to buy products from many categories without leaving WeChat. In fact, JD founder said that a quarter of JD’s new customers come from WeChat.
- WeChat mini-programs: In 2017, WeChat launched mini-programs that allow people to use mini-apps inside WeChat instead to download bunch of apps. In short, by using mini programs, people can book a doctor’s appointment, take a taxi, apply for a loan and much more. According to the Mini Program Report H1 2020 by Aldzs.com, there are already 3.2 million WeChat mini-programs and 410 million DAU.
WHAT’S X (TWITTER) AND HOW IT WORKS
Twitter’s new name, “X,” is the result of Elon Musk’s long interest in this letter. With X, Musk intends to create an “all-around superapp,” or an application that offers a wide range of different functions, similar to the Western version of WeChat.
Besides, according to Musk’s statements, “X” represents the “future version of unlimited web interactivity”. A revolutionary experience that will transform the way users interact on the platform.
In fact, Musk’s vision includes the ability to use this platform for financial tools, food delivery, urban transportation, search engine, messaging system, and even mobile peer-to-peer payment. Users will even be able to generate interest on their money, similar to a real bank.
Is Twitter going to be the next WeChat?
But, the information provided by Musk is still limited, which leaves many possibilities open regarding what App X may become. However, the foundation laid by Twitter is a good starting point. Musk needs to make this transformation in order to recoup the large investment that led to the acquisition of the social network.
Another key point, the app will be powered by artificial intelligence, which will play a key role in implementing advanced features. Thanks to AI, users will be able to “discover new ideas, connect with new business partners, and take advantage of otherwise inaccessible opportunities.” However, the details of how the AI will work are still not entirely clear.
In summary, this Musk’s Western version of WeChat, X (Twitter), appears to be an ambitious creation that aims to revolutionize the user experience on Twitter by providing a wide range of features and opportunities through artificial intelligence. It remains to be seen how this vision will materialize in practice and what the future developments of this innovative platform will be.
FROM TWITTER TO X: THE WESTERN EDITION OF WECHAT
The idea of creating an American “everything app” is not entirely new, however.
As a matter of fact, Mark Zuckerberg had already tried this with Facebook’s Project Libra. He attempted to introduce a cryptocurrency into his social network, without success. Other platforms have also tried to integrate services: in 2021, Pinterest offered its expertise to PayPal, but the results were disappointing. Or Instagram, which managed to integrate payment services directly into its app.
So, Messaging, media and payments seem to be the common thread in these attempts. But the model par excellence comes from China, WeChat, an “all-in-one” app developed by Tencent.
Elon Musk has always shown his admiration for WeChat, and from his earliest talks with employees of the “new” Twitter, he often mentioned the Chinese app. Opening up the possibility of creating something similar and unprecedented in the West.
FROM TWITTER TO X: THE WESTERN WECHAT IS THE NEW FRONTIER
To summarize, the four basic pillars of this new app are: audio, video, messaging, and payments/banking.
As a result, through these functions, the user experience will take place in a variety of ways. From interactive audio conversations, to video sharing, to instant communication via messaging, as well as the ability to make payments and online purchases.
Ultimately, X promises to elevate Twitter interaction to a whole new level. Allowing its users to do everything within the same platform, without having to resort to external apps. Thus, X from Twitter will in effect become the Western version of WeChat.
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