Lived in China for close to twenty years (before deciding to move back to Singapore), and in China, believe you me, every man, woman and their pet canaries have this installed on their phone - WeChat is the predominant software used to communicate.
Ooo, this can go on forever. Where do I start? The software supports communication with people added to my friend list in multiple languages; communication is not limited to just text-based but also supports video chats with multiple people simultaneously; it's freeware and costs nothing to use; I can post photos / videos in my 'Moments' section ("Ooo, I just bought this outfit", "Ooo, I'm having this for lunch", "Ooo, there's a rainbow in the sky" etc) so I can be the envy of all my friends; I can take photos with it which can be sent directly to friends via chat or uploaded to the aforementioned 'Moments' section; I can leave voice messages, which is v helpful since I my fat fingers on my small keypad results in a tonne of typos (plus, I'm just plain lazy); I can send files (nothing over 25MB); and it even acts as a phone, allowing phone calls to one or multiple parties.
As with all Apps, there are and will always be bugs. The people behind WeChat always seem to fix bugs and quickly as they find them (because there are many) which means there are new versions pretty often. This is really helpful if you're using a rather new phone (say, the iPhone 10,11, or whatever number it is these days. 138?), however if you're not, these new updated fixes normally will result in slowing the program, or worse, your phone, down.
Also, while one of the most powerful features of WeChat is the ability to use it as an payment portal, paying for everything from utility bills to street food vendors, it's also their most problematic and irritating attribute.
For starters, in order to access the financial features of WeChat (the ability to send and receive payments, or 'auspicious' red packets from friends and family say, during Chinese New Year - whooo hoo!), I have to first register and be authenticated. To do that, I'd have to have a bank account in Mainland China (I don't have to be a Mainland Chinese, but the bank account needs to be opened in Mainland China - just in case you wondering if I can open an account with say, The Bank of China in Singapore and link it to my WeChat account).
That's all fine and dandy if I were still in Mainland China and can waltz into any bank to open a savings account, but since I'm not, well, I cannot access their payment abilities.
Next, let me delve into their payment feature. Called WeChat Pay (or WeChat Wallet), it truly is a very powerful payment tool (accepted by vendors in many many countries, not just in China). Using it is as easy as scanning a QR code or transferring to and between friends on my list. It's a convenient way to pay for my phone bills or even pay for cigarettes (this is while I'm back in Singapore since many vendors accept WeChat Pay as a payment method), but when there are 'too many' (sometimes as little as two in quick succession) transactions, WeChat will simply disable your account because it apparently deems buying Coca-Cola from 7-Eleven as 'suspicious activity'. Frustrating with a capital F.
Ooo, and remember I mentioned above about the 'Moments' feature? I'm in the personal protection equipment business (no, this is not an advertisement), so I like to take photos (good lighting and all that) of my newly arrived products (masks and stuff, and no, this is still not an advertisement) and proudly showcase it on my 'Moment's. Guess what? Account disabled yet again. Why? No idea. Perhaps something vaguely related to 'marketing unsuitable material'.
Trying to contact customer service is near impossible. I'd have better luck discovering the Abominable Snowman. Writing in to WeChat asking for help, or at least to understand the reason (which of the rules and regulations did I flout?) they disabled my account will always result in me chatting with a bot, whose response is never helpful. No matter how specific you phrase your question, their reply will always be the equivalent of 'nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah'.
I understand that there are about a bazillion people in China, and thus, a bazillion WeChat users, so, customer service must be really busy, what with the amount of bugs the App frequently has, however, it would be nice to actually have real customer service agents around to reply (eventually) to questions. But since I don't expect this to happen (imagine how many WeChat would have to hire to cater to their bazillion users) any time soon, perhaps a clearer definition of the do's and don'ts would be very much appreciated. For example, stating very clearly that marketing / selling of items is not allowed, or, a certain number of financial transactions can only be conducted within a certain time frame - instead of just disabling my account because some bot 'detected non-conformance activity'.
I still use WeChat and always will. I tend to use my payment features only when I have to these days, and choose what I share on my 'Moments' carefully to avoid any unnecessary lock-down of my account. It truly is the predominant communications software that the world, not just China, uses.