A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘wechat

[URBAN NOTE] Six Toronto links: Downsview Park, Christie Pits, Queen Video, public art, Joanna Luo

  • A formal inquest into the stage collapse that killed one person at a Radiohead concert at Downsview Park in 2012 is only now taking off. CBC reports.
  • The May opening of a new exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work at the Olga Korper Gallery, reported by NOW Toronto, is very exciting.
  • blogTO notes a new graphic novel to be put out by Dirty Water Comics dealing with the anti-Semitic Christie Pits Riot of 1933.
  • Queen Video’s last location, in the Annex, is finally closing, with plenty of its titles now available to be bought before it shutters its doors at the end of April. Global News reports.
  • NOW Toronto reports on Museum II, a show part of the Myseum Intersections Festival looking at the impact of war and trauma on spaces.
  • Karon Liu, writing at the Toronto Star, explores with WeChat influencer Joanna Luo a whole universe of Chinese restaurants and social networking that was almost unknown to many Torontonians like myself.

[LINK] Christopher Reynolds of the Toronto Star on the problems of WeChat

In “The biggest social media app you’re not using”, Christopher Reynolds notes the failure of WeChat to take off in North America.

This does surprise me a bit. I had noticed a trend earlier towards the decline of local alternatives to Facebook and thought it a harbinger of globalization, i.e. the shift to a few major social networks worldwide. Will WeChat continue to resist? Might it yet push overseas, and if so, how?

WeChat, the mobile messenger app that’s been downloaded to more than a billion smartphones in China, is struggling to break into the North American market in the face of entrenched Western players and cultural differences.

About 650 million active users message each other, buy products, book travel and read news daily via the online social network that is perhaps more aptly described as an ecosystem.

Despite exponential gains in East Asia and a promotional campaign launched with high hopes in the U.S. in 2014, WeChat — owned by Shenzhen-based Internet giant Tencent — opted to cut off advertising overseas in 2015 as user growth plateaued.

User acquisition in the West “has sort of come to an end,” Tencent president Martin Lau Chi-ping told reporters in March.

Ning Nan, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, highlighted Tencent’s lack of customer base or local networks in the U.S. as a key barrier to competing against instant messaging heavyweights like Facebook.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 4, 2016 at 4:55 pm

[LINK] Two links on the decline of Facebook and the rise of WeChat

  • io9’s Robert Gonzalez linked to a recent paper arguing that the growth and decline of Facebook can be predicted by epidemiological models.
  • By drawing similarities between Facebook’s rapid adoption and the proliferation of an infectious disease, researchers at Princeton have devised a model that predicts Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2017.

    “Ideas, like diseases, have been shown to spread infectiously between people before eventually dying out, and have been successfully described with epidemiological models,” write authors John Cannarella and Joshua A. Spechler in an article recently posted to the preprint database arXiv. The basic premise is simple: epidemiological models, the researchers argue, can be used to explain user adoption and abandonment of online social networks, “where adoption is analogous to infection and abandonment is analogous to recovery.”

    The authors have based their models on data that reflect the number of times “Facebook” has been typed into Google as a search term. Checking Google Trends reveals that these weekly “search queues” reached a peak in December of 2012, and have since begun to level off. Plugging these figures into a modified SIR model for the spread of infectious disease – the researchers call theirs an “infection recovery,” or “irSIR,” model – yields the chart at the top of this post, and “suggests that Facebook will undergo a rapid decline in the coming years, losing 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”

    The researchers tested their model by comparing Google search query data for “Myspace” against adoption/abandonment curves predicted by both traditional and infectious recovery SIR models, demonstrating “that the traditional SIR model for modeling disease dynamics provides a poor description of the data.” By comparison, the search query data matches up rather neatly with the proposed irSIR model.

  • I read about WeChat‘s dynamic growth in David Barboza’s recent New York Times article. In its, Barboza argues that WeChat has not only preempted Facebook in China, but that it might well be one of the first Chinese global Internet brands. (Longtime readers of the blog might remember that both of my cell phones have been Huaweis.)
  • Weixin is the creation of Tencent, the Chinese Internet powerhouse known for its QQ instant messenger service and its popular online games. Tencent, which is publicly traded and is worth more than $100 billion on the Hong Kong exchange, is now seeking to strengthen that grip in social networking and expand into new areas, such as online payment and e-commerce.

    [. . .]

    Tencent, meanwhile, is so confident of its messaging app that it is promoting Weixin overseas, particularly in Southeast Asia, where there are already tens of millions of users. The company also plans a marketing blitz in Europe and Latin America, using the name WeChat. The company declined to say whether or when it would promote the service in the United States.

    Weixin could help change global perceptions of Chinese companies. Although Chinese Internet companies are still considered knockoffs of Google, Facebook, Twitter and eBay, analysts say they are quickly transforming themselves into dynamic, innovative technology companies with unique business models.

    Weixin, for instance, is no mere copy of an existing service but an amalgam of various social networking tools: part Facebook, part Instagram and even part walkie-talkie. Rather than send a short mobile phone message by typing Chinese characters, which can be time-consuming, users simply hold down a button that records a voice message.

    “Chinese Internet companies are no longer behind,” says William Bao Bean, a former technology analyst who is now a managing director at the venture capital firm SingTel Innov8. “Now, in some areas, they’re leading the way.”

    Written by Randy McDonald

    January 23, 2014 at 2:05 am