WeChat is offering an incentive to users if they can recruit five US friends to join the messaging app. The offer appears to be part of the Chinese company’s effort to sharpen its focus on the US market. While most smartphone users in the US probably haven’t heard of the app before, they likely will soon.
WeChat was developed by Tencent Holdings and is one of China’s hottest technology exports with more than 373 million users worldwide, according to the Wall Street Journal. While most of its users are still in China, the app has been growing its user base in Asia and other overseas markets, including South Africa and Spain.
According to the app’s Chinese website, Tencent is asking people who have Google accounts to attach them to WeChat so they can invite their Google contacts to download and join in with WeChat. If they get five Google contacts to join, they will win a $25 Restaurant.com gift card.
Thanks to an update last year, WeChat users can connect their Google accounts with their WeChat accounts with a feature offered by the search giant.
While it is certainly a good promotion, the app still faces an uphill battle if it wants a piece of the US mobile messenging market. Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and several others already hold a fair share of the market. WhatsApp also has more than 300 million monthly active users, more than the Chinese competitor.
Given Tencent’s promotion last year, the new campaign could be the first of many to lure US smartphone users away from other messenger apps.