WeChat App in China Described as Apple's 'Toughest Rival' as iPhone 8 Launch Nears

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apple's difficulty in garnering a larger share of the smartphone market in China has been looked at recently by The Wall Street Journal, which described the ubiquitous mobile app WeChat [Direct Link] as the iPhone's "toughest rival" in the country. Citing data from QuestMobile, on average WeChat is said to have captured nearly 35 percent of each user's monthly smartphone usage time, averaging about 1 billion monthly active users in total.

    The problem for Apple is that WeChat is an entire ecosystem, with one app allowing users to pay for services, text, call cabs, watch videos, play mobile games, and access cloud-based "mini programs," or apps that don't need to be downloaded to a device to be used. Because all of these WeChat features are universal across smartphone brands, analysts speaking with The Wall Street Journal questioned whether or not Apple is "losing its edge" in China.

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    Specifically, Apple saw a sales drop in Greater China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) in the first half of this past fiscal year, with revenue falling 13 percent in the period. According to analysts looking towards the launch of the iPhone 8, that device's success "largely depends on sales in China."
    Apple has been making moves recently to focus on China, including naming Isabel Ge Mahe as vice president and managing director of Greater China, who is said to ensure that Apple's products and services appeal specifically to China users. Just this weekend, Apple also removed VPN apps from the China App Store, a move that could potentially help Apple gain favor with Chinese authorities.

    Some iOS 11 features -- such as the new QR code scanner in the Camera app -- are also seen as a way for Apple to appeal to users in China who are used to having these abilities on hand with WeChat. If Apple doesn't continue to bolster its software, solely relying on upgraded hardware changes might not be enough to convince iPhone users to stick around, according to analyst Ben Thompson.
    In terms of market share, market research firm Warren Capital noted that Apple and the iPhone have taken fourth place in China, behind Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei. Apple dropped to fifth place in terms of smartphone devices shipped in Q4 2016 (with Xiaomi added into the mix along with the previously mentioned Chinese brands), and in April Kantar Worldpanel's data noted that iOS dropped to its lowest share of the China smartphone market since 2014.

    Thompson points to WeChat as a major reason only 50 percent of China-based iPhone owners stayed with Apple when purchasing a new phone, while in other countries that number is closer to 80 percent on average. Since users spend so much time within WeChat and rarely see any other advantages to owning an iPhone, the app "has turned Apple into just another vendor in China," which analysts see as particularly problematic for Apple as the iPhone 8 launch grows nearer.

    During a visit to China earlier in the year, Apple CEO Tim Cook told local media outlet Caixin, "We're not just someone who's here to access the market. We've created almost 5 million jobs in China. I'm not sure there are too many companies, domestic or foreign, who can say that." Ultimately, Cook said that Apple isn't afraid of the challenges it faces in China, telling the site that Apple is "here to stay."

    Article Link: WeChat App in China Described as Apple's 'Toughest Rival' as iPhone 8 Launch Nears
     
  2. TwoBytes macrumors 68020

    TwoBytes

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    Apple could pull WeChat from the app store but then face the backlash. If it's not pulled, the popularity of WeChat grows. It's a tricky situation.
     
  3. furqan8421 macrumors member

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    If they did that then based on the article Apple would surely lose more ground in china

    The app seems to be popular independent of Apple in which case people may feel that any smartphone capable of running it is good enough for them
     
  4. LordQ macrumors 68040

    LordQ

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    It's time to make iMessage multiplatform.
     
  5. nicho macrumors 68000

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    It's too late. That would just give existing iOS users even less reasons to stick with iPhone.
     
  6. gatearray macrumors 65816

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    This is related to the "in-app tipping" ban a few weeks back, which followed the original reports about the tremendous position of WeChat in the Chinese market as related to Apple Pay. It would seem Apple was asleep at the switch until they read Gruber's website one morning, and now a Chinese woman is in charge of Apple China...

    Was anybody fired? They threw Forestall under the bus for less.

    But then again, this is the same group of visionaries that gave-up the keys to the kingdom to Facebook and Twitter, baking them directly into iOS in an unprecedented and utterly foolish move in 2012.

    Flash forward to 2017 and say hello to the dead App Store, FB zombies roaming the streets, Fake News and President Twitter.

    Great job, fruitcakes! X-)
     
  7. nicho macrumors 68000

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    thats an understatement and a half.
     
  8. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    Well of course. WeChat is ok with being censored and ok with handing over user info to the government.

    Apple isn’t willing to make these concessions (yet), and until they do, they’ll never make up any ground.

    IMHO, this battle is already lost, and making such compromises would only erode Apple’s image and current customer base.
     
  9. Zirel Suspended

    Zirel

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    No, Apple is not the Walder Frey of the mobile phone industry.
     
  10. GrumpyMom macrumors 601

    GrumpyMom

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    Apple needs to reassess their view of IAP. If my Android experiences continues to improve at a steady clip (it's not quite there yet) I would be so tempted to switch exclusively to an Android phone because of the convenience of being able to buy a Kindle book within the Kindle app. I don't think I would, but the temptation is there. I would imagine in China it's a no brainer to go with the option that doesn't seem hostile to the IAP environment that is part of their culture.

    Right now so many features within iOS version of Kindle are not available because Apple and Amazon are at a standstill over Apple wanting a cut of the profits on each sale within the iOS Kindle app. Google doesn't do that so I can buy a book from within Kindle when I'm on my S8+.

    I think the same situation exists within other apps my family uses, like some comics app.

    I understand that Apple wants to monetize as many avenues at its disposal because they don't make money collecting and selling our data. They just need to figure out how to stay competitive and appealing while doing so. I don't envy them that task.
     
  11. MrX8503 macrumors 68000

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    The thing is WeChat is more of an OS than a standalone app.
     
  12. gnipgnop macrumors 6502

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    There's not much Apple can do about it, really. WeChat is heavily controlled by the Chinese government, thus paving the way for it to be so widespread within the country. There are plenty of other highly valued U.S. tech companies that aren't even doing business in China, so it's not the end of the world. The app downloads seem to be doing well in China too.

    http://fortune.com/2017/04/14/china-wechat-tencent-censorship-709-crackdown/
     
  13. JosephAW macrumors 65816

    JosephAW

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    I've always considered WeChat a backdoor for China to access users phones.
     
  14. haruhiko macrumors 68040

    haruhiko

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    Line - banned
    WhatsApp - not officially banned but practically unusable
    Others - non existent

    What can one use except WeChat?
    For the mobile payment part, without the approval by the Chinese government, how could Tencent launch a payment program and collect money from everyone in China? The success of the Chinese government to control the Internet both politically and economically is a textbook example of how things work differently than what most of us think.

    Now China has the big data of how its citizens use the internet, how they spend money, how they play games, and all of the chat logs. I don't think there is any chance for this to change, it's too late.
     
  15. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    That’s because it is.
     
  16. szw-mapple fan macrumors 65816

    szw-mapple fan

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    Apple doesn't have that kind of leverage in China. If WeChat is pulled, Apple can say goodbye to almost all of its sales in China.
     
  17. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    Apple makes plenty of money selling our data, either directly or by selling access to our data.

    - Apple makes money off our data directly via iAds. Some say, oh but that's not that much. Well, it's not for lack of trying. They started out wanting a minimum million dollar buy in, they were so sure that we worth a lot to advertisers.

    - Apple makes money indirectly off our data via embedded Google Search. It doesn't matter that Apple is not the one using the data, they're collecting billions a year in kickbacks from Google. Pimp or prostitute, it's still selling.

    - Apple makes money fairly directly by selling banks access to our purchases in Apple Pay and taking a percentage of each purchase in exchange. They could've acted as a proxy like the original Google Wallet and hid our purchase info, but that info is way too valuable to banks, as Apple well knows.

    Don't feel sorry for Apple. They make the biggest profit margin of anyone on smartphones, and yet STILL feel compelled to make more money off their customers by selling access to our action info.
     
  18. GrumpyMom macrumors 601

    GrumpyMom

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    Do they make money off of our Siri queries? I don't use Google search on iPhone.
     
  19. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    I believe Siri defaults to using Bing. Which likely means Microsoft is paying to be in that position.
     
  20. Wanted797 macrumors regular

    Wanted797

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    Apple should work to intergrate WeChat with iOS, give iPhones features other phones can't get.

    Or just buy WeChat. :D
     
  21. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    The real reason sales are down this year is that Chinese people are waiting for the iPhone.....

    8

    This years iPhone 8 will be a huge succes in China.
    Mark my words.
     
  22. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #22
    The iPhone 8 in 2018 no less.
     
  23. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    My post would still be valid, this year could be 2018.;)
     
  24. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    I wasn’t arguing with you; I was agreeing with you.
     
  25. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    Yes, I know.
     

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