For many in China, WeChat has become a way of life for communication, entertainment and making payments. But its impact in the U.S. has so far been limited.
That could soon change as it begins to take on new partners looking to strengthen ties between the U.S. and China.
CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.
At the WeChat U.S. China Strong conference, Silicon Valley startup Citcon shows off the only payment processor in the U.S. that helps merchants accept WeChat Pay.
“Last year, over 100 million Chinese people travel outside of China. Once they see this place can accept WeChat Pay, I can use my mobile phone. They certainly receive much warmer welcome with foreign countries,” Chuck Huang, CEO of Citcon said.
WeChat is moving in that direction by teaming up with the U.S. China Strong foundation on a special WeChat account. U.S. China Strong’s current goal is to get one million grade school and high school students to study Mandarin in the U.S. Right now, that number is at about 400,000.
U.S. China Strong’s account on WeChat essentially has three parts. There’s a place to connect to alumni, a place to explore learning Mandarin in China. Then there’s a place for fun-where you can play games to learn Chinese. And then there’s something called Crazy Fresh Chinese.”
Jessica Beinecke became a viral star in China by teaching English slang and culture to Chinese on Weibo and now Chinese to English-speakers.
“I absolutely think social media is a great way for the two cultures to come together. I think you are communicating with people much more often. And you are learning about them on a daily basis. The more that can happen between U.S. and China the better,” Beinecke said.
Although this is just the beginning of its collaboration with WeChat, U.S. China Strong hopes this platform will also allow young people to find their own ways to bridge the cultural gap.