Today is our 9th anniversary! Celebrate with us and save 50%—more than $175—on an annual subscriptionAct Now

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to developers Wednesday. Photo by Bloomberg.

What Facebook Should Learn from WeChat

Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to developers Wednesday. Photo by Bloomberg.

Facebook today announced big plans to open up Messenger to developers. This means Facebook wants to make your Messenger inbox as central a communication channel as News Feed.

To start, you’ll be able to send stickers, videos and messages made in other apps through Messenger. And more significantly, you’ll be able to use Messenger, not email or the phone, to communicate with businesses.

Does that sound far out there? Not if you live in China or are friends with people who do. In fact, while watching the f8 keynote this morning, I was surprised by how closely this functionality resembles China’s most popular messaging and networking app, Tencent’s WeChat, which I use on a regular basis and which leaders in the tech industry have been following closely for years.

It makes sense for Facebook to move in this direction. Mobile phones have made messaging a far better way to communicate. One thing that came through loud and clear in the keynote is that Mark Zuckerberg sees many other types of services that can integrate with Messenger, which has 600 million monthly users, over time. “It’s a really exciting big new area and opportunity,” he told developers in San Francisco.

(For those of you wondering what this direction means for Facebook’s efforts to enter China, I think this move is much bigger than tailoring Facebook to Chinese users and doubt it would want to compete head-to-head with WeChat.)

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
Test Drive e-commerce
Shein Confusion: The Fast-Fashion Giant’s New Resale Site Doesn’t Make Buying Easy
Illustration by Laurent Hrybyk.
All I wanted from Shein Exchange was a plain black skirt. It was a simple enough desire, I thought, as I swiped around the fast-fashion giant’s newly launched resale platform. Scrolling through the offerings, I was bombarded with used neon crop tops, bedazzled pants and denim skirts—but my basic wardrobe staple was nowhere to be found. When it was unveiled in October, Shein Exchange...
Latest Briefs
DOJ Seeks Independent Examiner in FTX Case to Investigate Fraud Allegations
Amazon Entertainment Chief Jeff Blackburn to Exit Company
Galaxy Wins Bid to Buy Bankrupt Crypto Lender Celsius’ GK8 Unit
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Charlie Bell. Photo via Microsoft
Exclusive microsoft amazon
A Former Amazonian Hits Bumps in Push to Make Microsoft More Secure
When Microsoft last year recruited Charlie Bell, a top product engineering executive at Amazon Web Services, it was a major coup for the software giant.
Data Point google
Where Google Has Grown
Alphabet has doubled the headcount in its Google Cloud unit since early 2019, according to data obtained by The Information, outstripping Alphabet’s overall hiring growth.
startups venture capital
Six Investors Chasing Debt Deals During the Downturn
With equity investors dialing back and public markets frozen over, startups that need to raise money are short of options.
The 1:1 policy
A Billionaire Couple Goes for Broke: How John and Laura Arnold Plan to Give It All Away
On Election Day, John and Laura Arnold found themselves deep in the lion’s den: a few blocks from the White House, working from the new Washington D.C.
Photo by Bloomberg.
Marc Lore’s Kitchen on Wheels Startup Cuts Staff, Dials Back Delivery Ambitions
Wonder, a mobile kitchen and food-delivery startup led by founder Marc Lore, has laid off 7% of its workforce, a company spokesperson said, as it attempts to overhaul its business.
Photo by Getty. Art by Mike Sullivan.
Opinion culture
Employees Aren’t the Only Ones Suffering From Burnout
We’re living in a split-screen world when it comes to burnout and the employee experience. On one side are all the investments CEOs and human resources executives have been making in recent years—and especially since the pandemic began—to support employee well-being and mental health.