How to Make a Messaging Mobile App like WeChat – Features and Technology



With everything from getting your song played to doing routine work, humans are dependent on trustworthy AI technology to make life’s tasks easier. As accuracy and task performance improve thanks to AI, it is evident that normal calling could soon be replaced by mobile apps and their AIs to serve what the WeChat application or other chat app development companies are targeting. It is genuinely believed that this will provide far superior connectivity, greater ease in contacting others, and better visual quality experience when chatting on a video call. Entrepreneurial individuals should consider the opportunity to create a revenue-generating idea for this domain and compete with companies like WhatsApp or WeChat.

What is the WeChat App?

WeChat Mobile Application

WeChat is the most popular messaging app in China with over 1 billion messages sent every 30 days. The Custom Mobile App Development Company Tenant was responsible for making the WeChat application. 

After WeChat’s initial launch as a message sharing platform, it quickly became the biggest mobile calling app, and the potential of an app like WeChat or WeChat Clone to succeed didn’t stop there. The app accelerated its growth by providing additional mobile app development services such as WeChat Payment, WeChat Stores, WeChat calling for nearby WeChat users, and many other exciting features.

Let’s dig into the “success story” of the WeChat application to gain insight into how it sustains these services, built up its brand, and created an iconic app like the WeChat we have come to know and use today.

  1. Started Small – WeChat started as a small chat service app company with an initial download space of less than 2 MB. This incentivized their audience to download it and to try it out. Eventually, they did provide frequent updates and came up with newer features that outmatched their competitors. 
  2. Absolutely Free – To access all the basic promised features, WeChat didn’t demand a penny from its users. This made them successful in developing a loyal fan base. 
  3. Games and WeChat Pay – This chat function has completely surpassed that of apps similar to WeChat/WeChat Clone. When other companies were struggling to serve the basic features, WeChat came up with more exciting freebies that users couldn’t refuse. Also, with the advent of UPI, instead of customers hopping between the apps, the  WeChat application introduced a built-in UPI system. This created an entirely different level of customer experience and the number of people using WeChat skyrocketed.  
  4. WeChat Mini Program – This innovation has dominated the ecosystem of local businesses, especially in China. With a customer base of over 1 billion in 2017, Tenant, a custom mobile app development company, showed the world they are capable of achieving what no other company did before. They allowed their customers the option to become a seller of their products and earn real revenue from it using the app.
  5. Socialize Yourself – Apps similar to WeChat restricted users to only communicating with their contacts. WeChat introduced the ability for users to connect with other WeChat users nearby. This has created a buzz among people who always wanted to get to know the locals around them better. The more you think about what your customers want and provide it to them, the more your customers fall in love with your app. This is what a mobile app like WeChat successfully achieved. 

Problems in developing an App like WeChat

WeChat App Development

Now you might be wondering, ‘Ok! I understand the business now. So what skills are required to create a WeChat Clone app on my own?’

Sure, it is a pretty easy process to develop an app similar to WhatsApp or WeChat, you would need:

  • Back-end infrastructure to handle traffic and function and a team dedicated to your app UX/UI and branding
  • Front-end for users to interact with apps on Android, iOS or web interface

To create a comparable app to WeChat involves complex technical work and testing requirements. While chat services apps like WeChat/WeChat Clone have the potential to be game-changers, know that before you dive into thinking within the existing pool of competition, consider what you need to stay afloat. 

There are some problems that you need to solve for when building an app like WeChat, for example:

  1. Time – If you are founding a USA mobile app development company from scratch, know that chat service apps have tons of lines of code for you to write, especially if you want to enter into the market where giant applications like Viber and WeChat exist. Along with this, you need to market your mobile application development service to customers. It takes time to earn public recognition for a WeChat Clone App.
  2. Money – Everything comes with a price, and even if you are a fantastic coder, you need to hire a developer and marketing team for making and selling your mobile app consulting service to your niche audience, which requires investment.
  3. Quality –  A chat app goes through many rounds of testing to ensure its functions remain seamless as apps like WeChat are. This testing requires expertise, time, and money. The whole process is vital in creating a quality app for your mobile app development service and will set you apart from other chat service providers. 

Features Modern Chat Apps Similar to WeChat Offer

Features of WeChat App

The main reason that helps apps like WeChat gain popularity is having unique features. Impeccable features bring about exceptional results. So, while building an app like WeChat you should include these features in your app:

✓ Video Chat – Almost all the popular apps similar to WeChat and WhatsApp offer a free, high-quality video calling feature. Even with the bigger brands in the market like Google Duo, this feature has become more of a requirement than a luxury for you to provide as the mobile development company. Otherwise, it is highly unlikely customers will download your app over others.

✓ Multimedia Compatibility – Your app should be compatible with sharing and storing videos, photos, and gifs. Also, if you aim to create an app like WhatsApp, Viber, or WeChat, you need to make sure your app supports gifs and stickers in messages. Users like to be creative and express more with these features. 

✓ End to End Encryption (E2EE) – Before you create an app like WhatsApp, you must be sure to provide an end to end encryption tunnel throughout your platform. This is an essential need since people are now aware of internet hacks and are more sensitive towards data and privacy. It only takes one time for your application server to get hacked for you to lose customer loyalty and find yourself facing lawsuits.

✓ Deleting the sent messages – As a mobile app consulting company, you need to cater to what your audience wants. Along with having a seamless data management system, your app should offer a deletion feature for recently sent messages so they don’t get stored in the database. 

Cloud Storage service – With a lot of services and data exchange happening simultaneously for apps similar to WeChat/WeChat Clone App, you should have a completely secure cloud storage service like Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Active Monitoring – As large amounts of explicit data are transferred around, there is no doubt crowds may use it to spread their propaganda, which can prove to be a cause behind a potential rebellion. Many times, WhatsApp or WeChat applications have needed to settle these matters in legal courtrooms. When you enter into this business, you’ll be treated no differently. 

Glossary: All Tech Required to Create WeChat at a Glance

Technology for WeChat Development

Making an app is not an easy task, and apps like WhatsApp use intensive technologies. The more high-end technology you use, the more user-friendly your app becomes. Below are important tech terms you should familiarize yourself with.

  • ERLANG – A strong artificial language that supports concurrency, distribution, and fault tolerance. It’s the language that is employed by WhatsApp and WeChat applications for development. This high-tech artificial language is appreciated for its speed, performance, and quantifiability. By using this language, you’ll be able to process large volumes of messages within seconds. 
  • Ejabberd server – An open-source server that uses the ERLANG programming language and can run under several OS. Using Ejabberd language offers great compatibility when sending texts/having a chat over a platform. It works well when you are just having a chat with a close friend or a whole group planning a trip. 
  • XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) – Ensures network security and is used to transfer messages in real-time over the internet. 
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service S3 – Multimedia Storage including high security. Amazon S3 provides a secure, scalable, sturdy cloud-storage for knowledge objects.
  • Cassandra – An app service that provides a seamless chat experience to the users over your created mobile application. 
  • PHP extension – Needed to run PHP as an Erlang node. It is an open-source extension that gives reliability and better performance to the app developed. 
  • YAWS (Yet another web server) – A web server used to store the multimedia files. It runs along with the main server, Ejaberd. YAWS performs all the concurrent operations to provide a seamless experience to the customer even when a large number of users are using a WeChat Clone App.
  • Mnesia DB– A real-time database with shorter message cycles written in ERLANG language that makes use of message-oriented middleware based on XML. With Mnesia, you can store photos, videos or music shared on an app like WeChat.
  • FreeBSD – a Unix-like operating system that focuses on features, speed, and stability. It is the operating system of FreeBSD which has made it possible to transfer over a billion messages a month easily. It can be monitored by a mobile app consulting company.  
  • SDK (Software Development Kit) – A free open-source chat service for apps that comes under the MIT License. This means that anyone can use it, download it, then modify it and upload it to the Google App store. There are also paid versions that provide chat services like Pubnub, QuickBlox, and Layer.  
  • WebRTC – A feature that gives you support for your tailor-made app similar to WeChat. This includes facilitating the option for customers to make instant calls and providing them with a seamless texting experience. In addition to these benefits, WebRTC also has a secured tunnel every time a call is made from your app.
  • Hosting services – For your business, synchronization between the chat app and servers is necessary to establish. You can have either a self-hosting service or you can rent a service from a SaaS (Software as a service) subscription. Many of the big names in the tech industry like Salesforce or Amazon Web Services provide quality hosting as a part of their Android mobile app development service. However, the problem with outsourcing the hosting services is you won’t get the access to complete source code or you may not get a license to modify it. This reduces the functionality of your application or an organization as a whole to function as an independent body to create an app like WhatsApp. Instead, you become a more dependent and client-based organization to these larger companies.

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Third-Party Services

As a young, dynamic entrepreneur, your aptitude for innovation is your most important quality when your staff size is small. The more time you invest in innovation, the better the product/app you introduce into the market will be. This progress increases the probability of you becoming the next Allen Zhang, the person who created WeChat.

Once your business grows and your workload becomes bigger, the best bet is to source the longer work or segment it to 3rd party services. These services will be more than happy to spend time fixing your everyday bugs with speed and efficiency.

There are some third-party organizations that provide hosting services to your platform and work as if it’s self-hosted. Contus Mirrorfly is a corporation that stands out for this service. It offers you all the ASCII text files and complete access to that with no copy-infringement what-so-ever. It’s similar to the Ghost net services they supply, operating in between the person/visitor/user and clients, plus it never demands a dime from management over the code. Mirrorfly is also behind the successful creation of WeChat Clone App, WhatsApp, and Viber. These third-party services supply a spread of add-on services like Social Media promotion, Advertising, Paid Stickers, online payment features, and more at the best market cost. These services not only empower your dream app but also monetize it at a higher scale, which might turn your app like WeChat into an all-out revenue-generating machine.

$46.7 Billion Business Model of WeChat, Mobile Development Company

Launched in 2011, WeChat became the must-have app especially in China and South Asian countries with over 1 billion total users and 900 million daily users. If we look back in time, we can see that WeChat had competitors that were providing similar chat services by launching mobile apps like WeChat. However, WeChat eventually outmatched not only the Asian players but also the bigger opponents, such as America’s mobile app company WhatsApp. 

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Let’s dig in and see what differences you also need to have in building a top-performing mobile application like WeChat.

WeChat Business Model
  1. Launch Year – WeChat was launched in 2011, the exact year when the sales of smartphones surged and crushed all previous sales figures. The launch time was perfect since new users wanted to know more about the power of their new gadget, and WeChat provided them with a reason to spend more time on their smartphones. 
  2. Clean Interface – Unlike other buggy Chinese apps, WeChat invested heavily in the UI/UX while building their app. This is a very important factor to consider when you think about the customer in your app development service. Having a clean interface will always pay off for your app!
  3. Free games – If its texting service was its only feature, it would be impossible for WeChat to have 800 million users even in 2015. To build traction, they introduced free games in their ecosystem. This spiked the number of downloads and turned WeChat into a unicorn Android app development company.  
  4. All in one –   This was the trump card they released in 2017. It turned a mobile application development service provider into a brand that created WeChat. Do you need to buy health care products? No need to switch apps. Feeling bored? No need to switch. Forgot your wallet? No need to switch. Making a call? You know where to make it all happen. All of these questions have the same answer. As an app with such a massive bandwidth of services, you can do all of these above tasks without even thinking about which app to use. WeChat created a high rate of user retention for its all in one service. Thus, their business is now earning to its full potential. So how does WeChat generate revenue?

How WeChat Generates Revenue?

WeChat Market Revenue

Display Advertisements – WeChat has taken advantage of its network effect, as it now earns traffic from over 1 billion users. Each time WeChat shows an add, it earns a commission fee. To understand the nature of the ads that show up, they carefully monitor the movements of their users. WeChat has the potential and crowd numbers to beat Facebook and Google Advertisements at their own game.

✓ WeChat Mini Program – By turning social media into a business for its customers, WeChat successfully used reverse psychology. This made the customers turn into businessmen and use WeChat more intensively to expand their reach to potential customers on the app. As mentioned before, the more you think about what your customers want and provide it to them, the more your customers will fall in love with your app. With the WeChat Mini Program, they offered what no other mobile app similar to WeChat provided: business opportunities for customers despite having a competitive network. 

WeChat chose to create a WeChat Mini Program where a customer can set up a shop on WeChat, attract 1 billion consumers, and sell products across the globe. For this program, you don’t need any prior knowledge in coding nor are you required to invest in developing one. In China, many people do not bring a wallet out or use credit cards and cash. Instead, they can use the WeChat app to pay for almost everything online.

To add more icing on the cake, the WeChat mini program turned into a major revenue earner for the company. For every transaction users make on WeChat, WeChat charges a very small commission fee from the Mini Shop owner.

Subscription Account –   With this feature, WeChat was no longer a mobile development service provider for its customers who only have it for socializing or paying daily bills. Now, customers can earn by simply using WeChat, and to do this, they don’t even have to open a shop for that. Any user, whether it’s a celeb or a local user, can post content on WeChat, and depending on the amount of traction a post receives, WeChat offers them a generous amount as a reward. This provides WeChat with the dual benefits of maintaining an engaged user crowd and while also allowing WeChat ad services to flourish. No other app like WeChat created such an ecosystem. Instagram is the closest comparison to this subscription account feature, but its app is much further from what WeChat looks like.

WeChat Games – WeChat connected with a lot of games that are produced by Tencent at first and generated 100 million revenue a month in China. I’m sure you have played at least one of their games, like Temple Run! And remember Planets Vs. Zombies? That was worth playing. As a smart business company, WeChat offered more games to keep users engaged. This decision was also beneficial because instead of having to create WeChat games, they outsourced games from other companies on the open platform and shared the revenue with the developers. 

Wrapping up 

The messaging app market shows continuous progress and growth, and there’s still a chance to build a WeChat-like app that will earn considerable market share. Messaging apps are the future of modern communication. As discussed earlier, building an app like WeChat is not an easy task, and our team at ConsultingWhiz can support you throughout the process. ConsultingWhiz uses the latest technologies to help you develop an unbeatable, top-notch application for your idea. Our exceptional quality of work produced has proven repeatedly that we are the top mobile app development company USA.

If you’re looking into opportunities and searching for information about how to develop an app for the WeChat platform, get in touch with us. Our team of experts and specialists strive to fulfill your requirements. For developing an Android app like WeChat – we are the one-stop solution! 

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