Tencent’s WeChat monetizes its group chat function

WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, on Wednesday released an update, adding two more functions to group chat.

With the update, group chat owners can approve or veto the invitations that group members extend to other people. At the same time, the update adds a “Go Dutch” funtion to group chats, allowing users to split bills quickly with friends using WeChat Pay.

What has changed when joining a group chat

WeChat group chat is an essential tool for users. People use groups to chat with family, send news to potential clients, and plan a trip with friends. Before the update, a WeChat user can join a group chat in two ways: being invited by a member or by scanning the group’s QR code.

WeChat’s group chat interface. Photo from WeChat.

Now WeChat is assigning more power to group chat owners. An owner can choose to turn on the “Verification invitation” button: in this case, members must get a group owner’s approval before they invite friends, and the QR invitation approach is blocked.

Going Dutch

The “Go Dutch” feature is not exactly brand new on WeChat. It already existed in the “Wallet” feature. The update made it more accessible and now users can share a payment within a group, and choose specific individuals to contribute to a payment if not all group members are involved.

The new Go Dutch button within group chat. Screenshot from WeChat app.
The new Go Dutch button within group chat. Screenshot from WeChat app.
The go Dutch interface. Screenshot from WeChat app.
The Go Dutch interface. Screenshot from WeChat app.


WeChat, developed by China’s tech giant Tencent, has 806 million monthly active users, according to its Q2 2016 report. Its Q4 2015 report disclosed that around 32 billion “red envelopes” of money were exchanged via WeChat Pay within six days during the Lunar New Year holidays in early 2016.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

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