Bring Government into your Viral Marketing Show


Since the end of February, WeChat has occupied the front page on most media for almost 2 months! The rumors or news that WeChat may charge users have been discussed by everybody everywhere. A huge viral marketing campaign is undergoing!

Most people continue following the news to get a final answer until 6 weeks later when WeChat publish an official announcement that WeChat will not charge the users.


Official announcement From Tencent WeChat

Official announcement From Tencent WeChat


(WeChat: (Chinese: 微信; or literally “micro message”) is a mobile app, allowing text and voice messaging communication service. It is developed by Tencent in China. It’s also thought of as the future marketing tools after Weibo.)


Splendid Vitory

After studying the case, my first reaction is: is there anything that WeChat’s marketing team cannot do?!

Before reviewing the campaign, please check the brief summary on the result:

Look at the other players that Tencent has brought on the stage this time: the biggest three monopoly tycoons in China IT industry: China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, even the government (MIIT: the Ministry of industry and information technology) has been used as a stage prop!

Almost all the mass people, even media reproach the monopoly tycoons and Tencent enjoys the overwhelming sympathy from the people who regard Tencent as a victim like them.


Background of the viral marketing campaign

To understand the story, we need to go back to the beginning of this year. On January, WeChat announced that they have got over 300 million users. With only 2 years’ development, WeChat has become the most used mobile application!


wechat charge


However, nobody can make everyone happy. Telecommunication Service Providers are not so excited about WeChat’s achievement; on the contrary, they are very angry with that! WeChat has taken 60% of their signaling resources while only contribute 10% profit. That’s why service providers bring out the new charging scheme which will greatly increase the cost of WeChat and thus may force WeChat to charge its users.


Why it’s a campaign?

The release of the news did arouse a considerable panic among WeChat users. It’s also at this moment that I understand that Tencent is making a viral marketing campaign! The reason is Tencent will never charge the users when developing the number of users. The market has shown that free products are the only way for company to develop in China IT market. All those tolling software are or extinct or lingering on with last breath.

It’s a rule that everybody including Tencent and its competitors know (but obviously excluding those monopoly and arrogant state-run companies).  Besides, Tencent has never tried the tolling mode of business.

So what other reason can explain why does Tencent discuss something needless to discuss?


Lessons from the viral campaign

1. Using other’s popularity

Taking use of others’ popularity is half the work for a viral marketing campaign. And in this case, Tencent takes use of three most popular IT companies in China plus government! Nothing can be better than that.

2. Winning the sympathy

From the very beginning of the campaign, Tencent is described as a victim of China IT magnates’ greed. And this positioning has aroused millions of people’s sympathy to Tencent.

not安逸2: 每一个中国官员体内都藏着一个POS机

not安逸2: Every government person has a POS machine inside them.


宋流牧微博达人:Support Tencent, Support Ma Hua Teng(boss of Tencent)

3. Leading the topic

During the campaign, there are other voices that doubt the case as a marketing campaign launched by Tencent, but none of the voices are loud enough to influence the netizens because it is carefully treated by the marketing team.

The last but not least, the victory of the campaign is overwhelming, but if it’s a successful campaign denpends on the return on its investment.

Source: CNR, WeChat, MIIT