About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is for my personal use. It serves as my personal diary as I investigate Chinese internet/gaming companies for investment purpose. If you have any comments or disagreement, please give me feedbacks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

China's Mobile Internet Messaging (IM) War, part 10: YiChat vs. LaiWang vs. WeMeet

This is part 10 in this series. One can find the previous part in this series here:

This is going to be a quick update on the status of three new players in China's Mobile Internet Messaging war.

Netease and China Telecom's love child, YiChat had been out for about 6 to 7 weeks now.

NTES and CHA had spent a lot of money on marketing the first day of the launch. But interestingly, I don't see any more marketing on any of the popular web sites after the first day. But YiChat had been in the news non-stop because it is a product of a monopolistic like state own company and a highly competitive private company. Thus, YiChat had been getting free marketing after the first day of launch.

At about the same time, Sina come out with their new product, WeMeet. Except for the first week, I don't see any more marketing. There is also not that many news articles about WeMeet.

Not to be out done, China's internet and E-commerce giant, Alibaba, also comes out with its own mobile internet messaging product, called LaiWang. Alibaba had done very aggressive marketing on all of China popular web sites for LaiWang.

I want to know how are these three products doing. In part 8 of this series of articles, I had used Baidu searches to get a measure of how popular these services are.

But I don't think Baidu search directly translates to the popularity of these products (there is an indirect relationship, but I want a more direct and more correct measurement).

I believe the total numbers of downloads shall be a more correct measurement. To do that, I used some of the most popular download sites. Unfortunately, some of the most popular download site don't provide download statistics.

I used 4 of the most popular download sites that do provide download statistics. Taken all together, they represents about 1/4 to 1/5 of total downloads. These four sites are:

91 Android

360 ZhuShou



Adding the total download per week, I got the total number of weekly downloads from the four sites. The respective numbers for Netease's YiChat, Sina's WeMeet, and Alibaba's LaiWang is as follows:
Weekly Download Total





Again, the number here is not the absolute total number of downloads. It probably represents about 1/4 or 1/5 of total downloads. But the error will be the same for all products I tracked. Thus, it might not be great in predicting absolute number, but it shall be very good in comparison of different products as well as tracking the growth of a single product at different time.

From the above table, YiChat had a great beginning. It begins tapers about one month after the official launch. But after that, it had caught a second wind and is starting to grow again.

Sina's WeMeet had a horrible start. It is dying even faster. It is suffering a horrendous death.

Alibaba's LaiWang starts strong. Please don't compare to the start of Netease's YiChat. I had never seen a product starts so strong as I saw YiChat. It will be absolutely unfair for any product to compare to the original start of YiChat. None of the three major social networking products (Sina's Weibo, Tencent's QQ, and Tencent's WeChat) had a start anywhere close to the start of YiChat.

If we don't compare to YiChat, Alibaba's LaiWang actually had a very strong start. At this point, it is still way too early to say how good LaiWang will do. But I do know that Alibaba is sparing no expanse in promoting this product.

At this point, it appears that YiChat will be, at a minimal, at second place to Tencent's WeChat in China mobile internet messaging application. Again, as I mentioned multiple times previously, the best thing for YiChat is not to be second place in mobile IM application. It is different enough that it could create a brand new product that combine internet, mobile, off-line home phone, SMS (Short Messaging Service), and VOIP (Voice Over IP) into one giant social network.

For Sina's WeMeet and Alibaba's LaiWang, they have to compete in the mobile IM. They don't have  off-line telephone, SMS, and VOIP capability, nor will they ever have (unless one of China's 3 telecom becomes their sugar daddy). They have to compete with WeChat head-on. Of the two, WeMeet is dying in front of our eyes. But LaiWang has a very promising start.

I will provide another update on this in another couple of months.



A test for now