The Smartphone-App ′WeChat′ from China | Shift - Living in the Digital Age | DW | 01.04.2013
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The Smartphone-App 'WeChat' from China

WeChat is a mobile phone text and voice messaging communication service similar to 'WhatsApp'. And thanks to its hold-to-talk voice messaging function, Chinese users don't have to waste time keying in their messages.

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The app was developed by Chinese company Tencent, one of the world's largest Internet and mobile phone services providers. With most languages using a Roman alphabet, users directly type in the letters that make up a word. But in Chinese, they have to type in the Roman letters that approximate the sound of a particular ideogram. Then, depending on the software used, a list of possible ideograms pops up, and the user chooses the correct one. But text messaging has got much easier for Chinese thanks to voice messaging functions. The app also includes social media elements such as photosharing and location-based social plug-ins to chat with and befriend local and international WeChat users.