Recently Tencent’s WeChat has launched several new services on its platform to monetize on its huge user base of 250 million daily active users. During the summer China’s most popular mobile app rolled out WeChat 5.0 which included mobile games, stickers, and the posibility for Chinese department stores to set up their own online stores on the platform.
All three are new ways to earn money, and this is made possible by the fact that in this latest WeChat version the company simulteneously introduced an online payment system to pay for these services.
It seems however that WeChat has already come up with a fourth monetization attempt. This week Chen Kun, a famous Chinese actor, rolled out a premium service to his followers on WeChat. When fans subscribe for this premium service they will receive exclusive photos, or songs, e-books and even good night voice messages from him. The price for this monthly subscription is set at RMB18 (around $3).
It is said that Chen Kun received over RMB7 million ($1.14mn) in subscription fees on the first day this VIP service went live (!).
Chinese Tech analysts believe that WeChat is behind this new celebrity premium account as the account of Chen Kun is not just a regular chatting tool but turned into a full-round app. Technode reports that:
“There are several channels on the page for the paid subscription; subscribers can click open songs directly listed in the music channel, read the e-book by the actor in another channel, like or leave comments on a piece of news, or join in the forum and interact with each other like on an every online forum.”
Now that Chen Kun’s first test case proved to be amazingly successful it is expected that many other Chinese celebrities will follow his example. For these first accounts Technode believes that WeChat won’t demand a revenue cut, but it is hihgly likely that in the end the company will ask a share of the income these celebrities earn with this additional premium service. Doing so, it thus seems that WeChat once again has come up with a very interesting way of business model innovation.