To connect with the rest of China, one must download China’s free widely-used smart phone application, WeChat. It’s very common for friends to exchange Facebook accounts instead of phone numbers. However, with the Great “Firewall” of China, many unlicensed websites such as Facebook are blocked by the Chinese government. Thus, instead of Facebook messenger, WeChat is the most convenient communication system in China.
Like any other messaging applications, WeChatters can perform all the basics: text, voice message, photos, videos, memes, etc. With data or wifi connection, free voice and video calls can be made among WeChat users. However, outgoing calls are not exclusive to WeChat friends. Family and friends without an account can receive outgoing international calls via WeChat Out on their cellular devices and landlines. If stuck in the decision to get an international phone plan or not, WeChat Out is a great pay-as-you-go alternative.
For international calling, WeChat Out offers low rate calls that are a bang for your buck. In fact, users would not even be charged $1 from using 100 minutes of talk time. At a rate of $.009 per minute, WeChatters in the US, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and India can make calls anywhere. Some international phone plans set a limit of 100 minutes of talk time per month. Plus, for every additional minute, an overage fee is charged.
Price Comparison of International Plans Between Major Phone Carriers
|Carrier||Monthly Fee||Talk Time||Rate||Overage||Pay As You Go|
|WeChat Out||X||Unlimited||X||X||$0.009 per minute|
|T-mobile's Simple Choice Plan||$50||Unlimited||$0.20 per minute||X||X|
|AT&T's Passport||$40||Unlimited||$1 per minute||X||$3 per minute|
|Verizon's International Plan||$40||100||X||$0.10 per minute||$1.79 per minute|
Moments with WeChatters
With no contract or monthly plan, WeChat Out is definitely a great alternative for connecting with people internationally at an affordable price. Other than making calls, WeChat is used as a social networking platform. Users connect with friends through their Moments by sharing posts, articles, photos, and videos.
However, what differentiates WeChat from Facebook is its performance quality of a closed ecosystem. Private users do not have to worry about irrelevant posts and comments appearing from strangers on their Moments’ dashboard. Only posts made by friends are visible. Similarly, posts made by you will not be seen by friends’ friends. Now, that is the beauty of a closed ecosystem. For a secure and private experience, only approved friends can interact with one another.
Besides WeChat friends, WeChatters can subscribe to public subscription and service accounts. Accounts are registered by organizations, businesses, enterprises, etc. to connect with members, fans, customers, and potential subscribers. Based on the type of account, subscription or service, public announcements will be published either daily or weekly on their page. The advantage of limited posts made by public accounts is zero spam. Thus, subscribers do not have to worry about an infinite number of messages coming in. WeChatters will be up to date with upcoming events, daily discounts, and more.
If interested, users are free to register for a subscription or service account. Many Chinese use WeChat as a commercial platform to start up their business. To learn more about the different accounts and their benefits, WeChat Agency provides detailed information.
With multiple uses and functions like Moments, WeChat Out, and Subscriptions, the WeChat population is constantly growing in China. Forbidden access to Facebook is not an issue to connect with family and friends in the states and new friends in China. On a whole other level, WeChat provides an alternate communication system that is convenient and accessible to everyone.
cover image via: chairmanmigo