Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 76

WeChat Demonstration Video

Video
2016
Artist/Maker

This 3 minute scripted video documents the key social and interactive features of Shenzhen based company Tencent's app WeChat at the time of acquisition in 2016.

WeChat (微信; Weixin) was developed by the Shenzhen-based company TenCent four years ago as a mobile messaging service for sending text, voice, and photos to one’s social network. Originally designed as a niche product for more affluent and educated Chinese users, it has quickly grown to being one of the largest social media platforms in the world (although still primarily used in China) with 600 million monthly active users at the time of acquisition into the V&A collection in 2016. Its initial innovation was to respond to the particularly cumbersome task of typing Chinese character by offering a quicker workaround of simply sending small voice messages, a tool that has been subsequently added to other messaging services such as Whatsapp. However, WeChat’s growth can also be linked to its continued search for increased functionality, and its ability to develop ‘apps within the app’, so that one can hail a taxi, order food, buy movie tickets, play games, check in for flights, send money, recognize music, book a doctor’s appointment and so on, all within one platform. The ‘apps within an app’ model contributes to WeChat’s goal of building a ‘mobile lifestyle’, a goal to address every aspect of its user’s lives, even non-social functions.

Object details

Category
Object type
TitleWeChat Demonstration Video
Brief description
A short 3 minute video to be played in a portrait orientation on a smartphone which consists of a video screen capture of the WeChat app in use, taking us through several of the apps most important functions and highlighting the multi-functionalist of the software.
Physical description
A short .mp4 video in portrait orientation.
Credit line
Given by Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Company Limited
Object history
This object was originally designed for display and conservation purposes for the Contemporary Galleries before their redesign, but was later acquired as an important record of WeChat's digital design, user interface and social interactions.
Summary
This 3 minute scripted video documents the key social and interactive features of Shenzhen based company Tencent's app WeChat at the time of acquisition in 2016.

WeChat (微信; Weixin) was developed by the Shenzhen-based company TenCent four years ago as a mobile messaging service for sending text, voice, and photos to one’s social network. Originally designed as a niche product for more affluent and educated Chinese users, it has quickly grown to being one of the largest social media platforms in the world (although still primarily used in China) with 600 million monthly active users at the time of acquisition into the V&A collection in 2016. Its initial innovation was to respond to the particularly cumbersome task of typing Chinese character by offering a quicker workaround of simply sending small voice messages, a tool that has been subsequently added to other messaging services such as Whatsapp. However, WeChat’s growth can also be linked to its continued search for increased functionality, and its ability to develop ‘apps within the app’, so that one can hail a taxi, order food, buy movie tickets, play games, check in for flights, send money, recognize music, book a doctor’s appointment and so on, all within one platform. The ‘apps within an app’ model contributes to WeChat’s goal of building a ‘mobile lifestyle’, a goal to address every aspect of its user’s lives, even non-social functions.
Collection
Accession number
CD.5-2023

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Record createdMay 26, 2017
Record URL
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