WeChat Reaches a New Milestone - 1 Billion Monthly Active Users

Tencent to introduce new feature to restrict video game playtimes

For WeChat users, the app acts as a central hub of the digital world - consumers use it to perform tasks ranging from texting and calling friends, to paying bills for goods and services, to booking doctor appointments.

Only Facebook and its own messenger app WhatsApp have more, with about 2.1 billion and 1.5 billion respectively.

The symbolic threshold was announced by Mr Pony Ma, the chief executive of parent company Tencent, on Monday.

China's most popular social media app WeChat has surpassed yet another massive milestone - 1 billion monthly users.

There's a reason why WeChat was hailed the leading social media platform in China.

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However, the Chinese market is fast reaching its saturation point, prompting Tencent to venture overseas. It has been launched in more than 15 countries to date.

Meanwhile, WeChat has failed to catch on in other markets.

WeChat began as a messaging app but it evolved quickly and it comes with many more features for its users than just messaging to others. Moreover, convincing existing app users to switch to WeChat will be quite a challenge, especially after monitoring accusations from Chinese businessman Li Shufu made the rounds. Wireless industry group GSMA estimates that 98% of China's 1.4 billion people already own a smartphone, and sales of the devices started to decline previous year.

"The growth on WeChat has been slowing down consistently for the last two years", said Matthew Brennan, founder of ChinaChannel, a WeChat-focused research firm. Encouraging existing WeChat users to spend time and money through the app is a convenient way for the platform to earn more.

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