top of page

WeChat Channels Overtakes Rivals with 800 Million Users Just Two Years After Launch

Updated: Jan 8

The video-sharing service of Tencent Holdings has amassed over 800 million users in merely two years since its debut in 2020, rapidly surpassing competitor Chinese platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou in dominating the sector in the world's second largest economy.

Credits: REUTERS

The service, WeChat Channels, now draws massive audiences for livestreams in specialised areas ranging from book appreciation to tea culture. However, a key challenge remains - finding ways to increase revenue, including through advertising.

Book Seller Turned Celebrity

Zhao Jian, who runs a bookstore in Nanjing, is presently one of the most famous people in China's publishing business. That's because Zhao livestreams a programme for four hours nearly every evening via WeChat Channels.

The programme introduces books around themes like history, art and literature, spending around 30 minutes on each title.

Zhao now has over 1.8 million fans, attracted by his abundant knowledge and on-screen manner. That has aided him in making sales, including moving 3,000 sets of 24 books examining an esteemed 11th century work of history. Each set costs over 1,000 yuan ($140).

Zhao began his programme on WeChat Channels in January 2022, after his shop was impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

"Now the number of books sold on WeChat Channels daily exceeds the number sold in a week at the store, which has a floor space of 9,000 sq. meters," Zhao said.

Tea Expert Finds New Platform

Meanwhile, Chen Jingshun is another famous persona on WeChat Channels, using his programme to discuss different aspects of tea culture and to sell items like tea leaves.

"In the past, I spoke to just one or a few customers, but in live streaming, I sometimes speak to 300,000 people at the same time," said Chen, who started using the service in April 2022.

Rapid Growth Since 2020 Launch

Tencent launched WeChat Channels in 2020 as an additional feature of its messaging app WeChat, which has some 1.3 billion users.

Douyin, as TikTok is known in China and Kuaishou were previously the top video-sharing apps in the country. But WeChat Channels users surpassed 800 million by end of June 2022, exceeding Douyin's 680 million and Kuaishou's 390 million, as per research firm QuestMobile.

Revenue Growth Still a Challenge

However, WeChat Channels is yet to significantly contribute to Tencent's earnings. S&P Global approximates ad revenues from WeChat Channels totalled 4 billion yuan in 2022, which was about 10% of Kuaishou's revenues.

Although S&P estimates WeChat Channels may see its revenues grow three or four fold over the coming years, few large companies have so far used it for ads.

"Many companies are still on the sidelines," said a Chinese marketing expert.

Still, it can expect to expand revenues from other sources owing to its massive customer base, like fees for collecting user payments to video stars.

However, with China's government having tightened regulations on live streaming use, Tencent will need to tread carefully as it looks to grow revenues.

  • WeChat Channels has rapidly gained over 800 million users since launching in 2020, overtaking rivals like Douyin and Kuaishou.

  • The service creates huge audiences for booksellers, tea experts and more to livestream and sell products.

  • Revenue growth remains a challenge, though the massive userbase provides potential for earning fees and advertising if regulations permit.

Source: Nikkei Asia

As technology advances and has a greater impact on our lives than ever before, being informed is the only way to keep up.  Through our product reviews and news articles, we want to be able to aid our readers in doing so. All of our reviews are carefully written, offer unique insights and critiques, and provide trustworthy recommendations. Our news stories are sourced from trustworthy sources, fact-checked by our team, and presented with the help of AI to make them easier to comprehend for our readers. If you notice any errors in our product reviews or news stories, please email us at  Your input will be important in ensuring that our articles are accurate for all of our readers.

bottom of page