WeChat in Malaysia: An Overview of the Messaging App

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This is an image of WeChat's Shake function.  This is a social discover function, allows you to connect with random people who also use the shake function in a similar time frame.
This is an image of WeChat’s shake function. This is a social discovery function, allowing you to connect and communicate with a random person who also uses the shake function.


WeChat is among the fastest growing mobile communication apps in the world. Although the app had been launched in June of last year, it came to Malaysia only in April 2013.  You may have seen the local ads featuring Lisa Surihani and Shaheizy Sam promoting WeChat, but you may want some deeper insights.  Below we’ve outlined the essential information about WeChat in Malaysia.

WeChat Compatibility

The app is supported by Windows Phones, Blackberry, Android-based phones, iOS (Apple phones), and recently Nokia S40 (beta).

The app is currently available in about 17 languages including English as well as Bahasa Malaysia.

Additionally, WeChat allows you to communicate with other users through the desktop web browser.  This is a cool feature that not many other mobile chat applications have – most require you to use the proper mobile app.

Setting Up WeChat

To use WeChat, you need to enter your mobile number.  It will then send a text message with a verification code for you to enter into the app for confirmation.

Once you confirm your mobile number, WeChat will scan your contact list to find out who else is using the service.  It will then display the WeChat users you know, but in order to communicate with them you must press the “Add Contact” button, and the other person must approve your request before you can start chatting.

Also, you should note, that WeChat users who are not on your phone’s contact list, cannot find out your phone number. If you’d like to chat with other WeChat users not on your contact list (details about this below) and also not reveal your phone number to them, then you can create a WeChat ID or use a QR Name Card.

Furthermore you can adjust the settings, such as friend verification, block lists, moments feeds, and other social discovery functions.

Communicating and Connecting on WeChat

In addition to sending written messages on WeChat, you can send pictures, videos, audio clips, location data and contact details.


You can also hold video calls and operate the app like a walkie talkie with a friend (if you’re into that kind of thing).

WeChat also provides an element of social discovery in which you can randomly make friends with other users. Here are four social discovery functions you can use:

  • Look Around: This displays a list of people in your proximity, which you can filter by gender
  • Shake: The “Shake” function will display a list of WeChat users who have also recently used the “Shake” function.
  • Drift Bottle: This feature allows you to send a message to the world of WeChat users or to pick up a random message from the world.  It has a neat graphic interface, displaying the open sea with buttons to “throw a bottle” (e.g. send a message) or to press “open” to view a message someone else threw.
  • QR Codes: You can use QR codes to initiate group chats.  You can simply email the QR codes to up to 40 friends.

If your enjoy sending illustrated text messages, WeChat comes with built-in stickers and custom emoticons.

Backing-up WeChat

WeChat offers great backup support.  You can easily transfer your chat history to new devices.  You can do this by saving conversations to WeChat servers for up to 7 days with a password, and then with your new device, access this by the restore function.

Unfortunately, there is no function for exporting chat history.

The Future of WeChat

WeChat had earlier announced that it had chosen Malaysia to promote itself because it considers the country a key market with great growth potential. It pointed out that Malaysia is one of those countries which has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world.  WhatsApp is still probably one of the most popular mobile messaging services in Malaysia, but these are early days for WeChat in Malaysia, and it may quickly vie for a top spot.

Will you use WeChat or have you used it?  Share a thought in the comments below.

You can visit the WeChat website here.


SEE ALSO: What is Snapchat and Why You Might Like It



Photo credit: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / Foter.com / CC BY

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