Flipkart To Launch Indian Competitor of Chinese Messaging App WeChat This Year!
Indian company Flipkart, that started out as an online bookstore like Amazon, has expanded to a lot of industries. Now you can practically buy everything on its platform. The company recently announced the proposed relaunch of its grocery store and acquisition of eBay and Snapdeal.
Now, the Bengaluru-based tech company wants to get into the business of messaging for everything. Chinese company Tencent’s WeChat is a one stop shop for all social media activities along with payments and online marketplaces.
WeChat started as a simple messaging app like WhatsApp Messenger and then gradually grew to become the largest messaging application in China and surrounding areas. It has close to 1 billion active users already, and despite its efforts to expand to other countries, the company was unsuccessful in getting onboard other markets.
Now WeChat features instant text messaging, voice and video conferencing, video games, location sharing, photo and video sharing. It has also had the capability to let a user register as a featured user, so as to broadcast to fans and followers as on Instagram. There are about 8 million active officials verified accounts on WeChat right now.
Moments is another feature on WeChat that allows users to post pictures, video and music which can also be connected to Facebook and Twitter. The largest feature is the integration of payment services. This is something Flipkart has been interested into.
Why does Flipkart want to launch a WeChat clone in India?
There is no app in India that can do everything for a customer. There is a separate messaging app, and a food ordering app, and a cab-hailing app and finally one to make payments to each other.
WeChat has allowed its users to make payments for purchases or transfer money to each other through the app, with the integration of digital wallets, cards or bank accounts. WeChat Pay is also launching soon to improve the customer experience on the app, in which the company has invested heavily.
“The business is targeting a December launch and will follow a WeChat model, where the Flipkart app can be used to book a cab, order food or plan your travel. With the launch of loyalty points for all purchases on Flipkart, the Flipkart platform will act as a distribution channel for these services,“ said Prakash Sikaria, Senior Director – monetization and new initiatives at Flipkart.
Other services like paying fees, bills, booking doctor appointment, public transport, supermarket bill payment will also be made available on Flipkart’s app. This will not only provide Flipkart has a head start in the market but also set an example to its competitors.
The company can make it bigger by integrating its marketplace on the app as well. It already has a huge customer base which it can leverage to get feedback on its services. This way, the company can also streamline most of its processes and bring its own specialised services to the forefront.
At this moment, Paytm allows users to do all of the above, sans the messaging feature and services booking feature. Flipkart’s app will be a mix of WhatsApp, Skype, Truecaller, Paytm, UrbanClap and Zomato. You will be able to do pretty much everything from one app, making your life easier.