With a figure of a billion monthly active users as of the second half of 2017, and undoubtedly increasing, WeChat is clearly doing something right. From WePay to mini-programs, WeChat has become a program brimming with functionality. In 2018, what more is there for WeChat to add? Over the next few days, we will be looking at several of WeChat’s newest features and how your brand can make the most out of them.
Integrated AR with Smartphones
We’ve seen Tencent tackle the VR market with success, from allowing users to interact with others in a virtual space to streaming VR concerts. More recently however, WeChat has decided to bring this technology into WeChat with QAR, an open AR platform.
Without the need of headsets, it will offer affordability and accessibility. By using 3D rendering and simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) technology, this feature will be able to provide highly detailed and realistic objects, along with the position of these objectives relative to their environment.
Why is this important for you?
Media and jobs platform Tech In Asia projects the size of the AR market by 2020 to be around $90 billion and Forbes expects the number of AR-enabled phones in 2018 to be over 900 million. In both these estimates, the Chinese will account for the majority of the share. For many brands, being able to get a foothold in this opportunity will be highly beneficial in the future as recognisation as one of the pioneers of any given successful technology has always provided reactions and results on the positive end of the spectrum.
How can this technology be used for your brand?
Perhaps this new investment is a reaction to WeChat’s mobile payments rival, Alibaba, bringing an AR-element to its last hongbao campaign (the tradition of giving cash in red envelopes to celebrate the Lunar New Year). In the same fashion as Pokémon Go, it allowed users to collect virtual red envelopes left in various real-life locations.
Using this WeChat AR technology, brands could capitalise on the phenomenon that Pokémon Go was able to provide; a shift in the way technology is used to a more immersive and interactive format than ever before