Tencent’s WeChat Channels Accelerates Commercialization

Tencent is currently increasing its investment in WeChat Channels, a video content creation platform. In order to promote commercialization, WeChat Channels announced a creator revenue-sharing plan and a paid subscription feature for high-quality content creators. According to a report by Tech Planet on March 30, this year WeChat Channels will continue to focus on introducing brand merchants, developing industry chains, introducing group buying modes, inviting knowledge-sharing KOLs (key opinion leaders), and expanding local life services.

After three years of operation, WeChat Channels has surpassed WeChat Moments in terms of usage time and experienced over eight times growth in live-streaming sales in 2022. In the past year, the number of active video creators on the platform has doubled compared to before, while those with over ten thousand followers have quadrupled. QuestMobile data shows that as of mid-2022, the monthly active users of WeChat Channels had reached 800 million, even exceeding ByteDance’s Douyin.

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Although WeChat Channels has never officially unveiled specific daily active user data or live streaming sales GMV (gross merchandise volume), it is not indifferent about its layout in live e-commerce business. Xia Heng, founder of one of the service providers for WeChat Channels, told Tech Planet that there are three clear strategies for service providers this year: introducing brand merchants, developing industry chains, and introducing group buying modes.

Introducing brand merchants means expanding the proportion of high-quality brands on the platform so as to help them familiarize the platform ecology quickly via service providers, thus decreasing their time cost when starting live-streaming or monetizing their business on WeChat Channels. Live-streaming of brand merchants was once a cornerstone of Taobao Live where previously released data showed that business live streams accounted for about 70% of Taobao Live’s overall GMV.

The introduction of industrial belts aims to ensure more advantageous prices for goods supplied by factories. The above-mentioned service provider said that this year’s first batch of key development industrial belts includes: women’s clothing from Guangdong Province, seafood products from the Lianyungang area, tea products from Yunnan Province, silk products from Hangzhou City, cashmere products from Qinghe/Dezhou  and ceramics products from Jingdezhen City.

As for group buying modes, the essence is matching KOLs with goods. A service provider in the clothing category told Tech Planet that currently the platform is very familiar with KOLs but not so strong at controlling goods. Therefore, the main goal of introducing group buying modes is to gather goods and introduce more sources.

This year, WeChat Channels seems to hope to strengthen users’ awareness through knowledge-sharing content as a breakthrough point while also expanding local life services. On March 28 during “WeChat Open Class 2023”, relevant personnel from WeChat Channels mentioned at a closed-door meeting that They are testing the sale of coupons that can be used for various business scenarios, including in-store purchases, self-pickup orders, and intra-city deliveries. It will be launched in May.