Facebook is trying to copy many elements from Tencent´s WeChat, but has a hard time in overtaking the dynamic Chinese service, says innnovation expert William Bao Bean at MumBrella.”“WeChat – whether they’re good or bad – the bottom line is they are about 18 months ahead of Facebook.”
“WeChat – whether they’re good or bad – the bottom line is they are about 18 months ahead of Facebook,” he said. “Facebook is pretty old school. If you go on to Facebook and look around you cannot buy anything. You go on to WeChat and look around, you can buy everything,” he noted, referring to the advanced e-commerce features on WeChat that are absent on Facebook.
“Facebook is a media company. I totally agree with Martin Sorrell [WPP’s chief executive] on this point, at least. Facebook killed virality. But WeChat keep it open, they allow virality and the way they make money is through revenue share on transactions,” Bao Bean explained, adding that Facebook is likely to go down WeChat’s path towards commerce and “clone” its model.
“I think over time Facebook will have an issue, because if they keep charging everybody [brands] to share something as opposed to moving to a commerce model, where they make money on purchases, they will have a huge monetisation problem in the future,” he predicted.
“From what I understand of the Facebook roadmap it’s a giant WeChat clone. They will go there, eventually,” he added later in his talk.
During a candid presentation, Bao Bean, who was previously with SingTel Innov8 before moving on to SOSV, and who is the MD of two accelerator firms, Chinaccelerator and Mobile Only Accelerator (MOX), pressed home the virtues of e-commerce over advertising.
“In Facebook, there is a community, but you can’t do anything with it, they’re [fans] just sitting there. The key thing with WeChat is that you can drive them to download apps, but more importantly you can drive them to buy shit,” he said.
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Earlier we discussed with William Bao Bean the relationship between Facebook and WeChat.