Location Based Services: how Foursquare could be Beaten by WeChat Soon

As explained back in August 2012, the WeChat app is a good way to link the offline world to the online world with localization (LO).

Current growth is higher than Facebook.  Maybe it is time to convert your Facebook fans into WeChat followers! To compete with WeChat on chat features, Facebook introduced voice message at the end of Quarter 4, 2012.

Going to the Social Tab, you find a list of social services to communicate and connect with other users. The bottom part is about location based services (#1 phone screen in the following image).

LO features

Look Around: connect with real people or businesses close to you (local localization reach)

A localization feature allows users to find if contacts or other Weixin users are nearby. You can also filter the type of people you would like to see making the feature even more social.

If you become an user, you have your own QR code linking to your WeChat account.

Local businesses in China, like stores, use the WeChat QR code the same way than businesses communicate their Facebook page.

In order to make life easier, the application includes a powerful QR code scanner (after testing and comparing with other scanners, this scanner is one of the best in the world).

Drift Bottle (2): communicate & connect with strangers around the world (global localization reach)

This function is a way to send voice or text messages to a random user. The user who reads the message choose to reply or leave the message for another user. We know the feature is not so popular and used but the big advantage we see is the global reach and fun it adds to the application.

Shake (3): see & communicate with other people doing the same action of shaking her/his phone (closest localization reach)

Wonder why people are shaking their phones? Maybe they are using this fun social feature. On the screen will appear an user who shaked her/his smartphone in the same time than you!

Expected Additional Localization Services will make the difference

The previous features don’t represent a threat for Foursquare who is already facing a more serious competition  on localization from Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yelp among others. If Tencent takes the right decisions, the competition will come from additional features likely to be launched to monetize the WeChat app and user base at the end of 2013.

Today the services of localization are limited. However, taking into consideration the huge user base, any new feature launched by Tencent is likely to be adopted very fast.

Growth of use of WeChat for localization services is likely to be higher in 2013 than the growth of use of Foursquare.

worldmap weixin 2012

Facebook Nearby is a strong competitor of future WeChat localization services. Momo, a dating mobile application, offers check-in features that makes it a player in Location-Based Services (LBS).

Tencent is not likely to compete with Yelp in the USA in 2013.

Looking at the Terms:

lbs terms wechat


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