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This article was published on January 27, 2014

    WeChat wants to pay you $25 to recruit 5 US friends to its mobile messaging service

    WeChat wants to pay you $25 to recruit 5 US friends to its mobile messaging service
    Jon Russell
    Story by

    Jon Russell

    Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

    WeChat, the popular messaging app that claimed Facebook’s mantle in China, is sharpening its focus on the US market, after quietly launching a campaign to reward users for recruiting their friends.

    The Wall Street Journal first spotted the scheme that rewards users who connect their Google account and invite five friends to the service with a $25 gift card from Restaurants.com.

    wechat_

    Tencent, the Internet giant that owns WeChat, focused on international growth last year, pushing the messaging app in South East Asia, South Africa and Latin America through a campaign spearheaded by Argentina and Barcelona football star Lionel Messi.

    Like Japanese rival Line, WeChat has done no real promotion in the US, but it did set up a small team to investigate opportunities one year ago.

    WeChat — which counts 100 million registered users outside of China, and has 272 million active users worldwide — will need to rival the likes of Snapchat, Kik, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for attention in the US. That’s no easy task.

    If this promotion has caught your attention, you can learn more about the differences between WeChat and other messaging apps in our recent post: More than messaging: Why you should stop comparing WeChat to WhatsApp.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpyL9JveyhQ

    Related: WeChat is going international in a different way to WhatsApp: using games and commerce [Interview]