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WeChat craze grips expats

By CHAI HUA in Shenzhen, Guangdong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-19 07:43

A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Don't be surprised when you ask an expat in China for a business card, he offers to add you to his WeChat account. A new survey has found they are more active on the popular social media app than Chinese.

According to a report released by WeChat, a service by Tencent Holdings Ltd, on Wednesday, foreigners send 60 percent more messages each month compared with typical Chinese users born in the 1980s or the 1990s.

It also showed that expats living in China favor communicating through emoji stickers, voice calls and video chats, using them 45 percent, 42 percent and 13 percent more respectively than Chinese.

Six out of 10 foreigners said they use WeChat Pay for transportation, food deliveries, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and online shopping.

Red envelopes, a digitalized Chinese tradition of sending each other a sum of money as a gift, is also frequently used by foreigners, who send 10 red envelopes monthly on average through WeChat.

Shintaro Koido, a 27-year-old teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, said he usually sends red envelopes to his colleagues during the Chinese Lunar New Year.

"I like to use WeChat because it combines all aspects of other social media, such as video, picture sharing, payments, voice calls, all in one," he said.

Raz Gal-Or, a 22-year-old Israeli student at Peking University and co-founder of a program to study the behavior of expats in China, said he found mobile phone apps and online games developed by Chinese companies were becoming more and more popular with them.

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