【英语财经】企业微信:腾讯又一棵“摇钱树”? Tencent’s WeChat uses its muscle to appeal to business users

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2016-5-5 22:30

小艾摘要: In a bar in Beijing or an underground rail carriage on the Shanghai Metro, the sight of WeChat, the addictive chat app developed by Tencent Holdings, is ubiquitous. But when you spy it over the should ...
Tencent’s WeChat uses its muscle to appeal to business users
In a bar in Beijing or an underground rail carriage on the Shanghai Metro, the sight of WeChat, the addictive chat app developed by Tencent Holdings, is ubiquitous. But when you spy it over the shoulder of your neighbour on the Metro, chances are they are messaging colleagues rather than friends.

At almost every Chinese workplace, WeChat has become the primary means of communication. Conversations through WeChat group messages have replaced email, files can be shared in the app, and group voice calls can replace meetings.

But there are some big drawbacks: WeChat messages do not have the legal status of a written email, message history can be hard to access and the security of corporate information can be a concern.

Tencent has set out to fix this, with Enterprise WeChat. The app has all the usual chat features, plus some extras: employees can ask for time off, file expenses or even clock in to show they are at work. Security has been upgraded and companies must register before employees can use the service.

What Tencent is trying has echoes of Facebook at Work, a programme for workplace communication launched last year. Unlike Facebook, whose users mostly use the platform for personal communication, WeChat already had a big corporate user base before the app: it now needs to get them to move over to the updated version.

Once they do, Enterprise WeChat may help Tencent solve a different problem: how to make more money from WeChat, which despite having 700m users has never generated big profits.

Enterprise WeChat is free but that could change. Workplace chat apps in Silicon Valley have garnered some rich valuations (such as Slack, valued at $3.8bn) off the idea that companies will pay handsome subscription fees for their service.

无论是在北京的酒吧,还是在上海地铁的车厢内,随处可以看到有人正在使用微信(WeChat)——由腾讯控股(Tencent Holdings)研发的令人沉迷的聊天应用。但是,如果你在地铁上斜眼偷看旁边乘客的手机,你很可能看到他们正在给同事发微信,而不是给朋友发微信。

几乎在中国每一个工作场所,微信都已经成了主要的沟通方式。微信群聊已经取代了电子邮件,人们可以通过微信共享文件,同时群组语音通话可以代替开会。

但是,其中也有一些比较大的缺点:微信消息不具有电子邮件的法律效力,消息记录很难获得,同时企业信息安全也可能成为顾虑之一。

腾讯打算用企业微信(Enterprise WeChat)来解决这些问题。这款应用拥有所有的一般聊天功能,同时还有一些附加功能:员工可以在上面请假、报销、甚至考勤。安全方面也进行了升级,企业必须先注册,然后员工才能使用该服务。

腾讯目前的尝试类似于Facebook at Work,后者是去年推出的工作交流软件。Facebook的用户大多使用该平台进行私人交流,微信与之不同:它在推出企业版之前已经拥有了庞大的企业用户基础,现在需要把这些用户迁移至这个更新版本中。

一旦用户开始使用企业微信,它或许有助于腾讯解决另一个问题:如何利用微信赚更多钱。尽管微信拥有7亿用户,但是从未产生过巨额利润。

企业微信目前是免费的,但是这一点有可能改变。出于企业将为服务支付可观订阅费的想法,硅谷研发的一些工作聊天应用得到了高昂的估值(比如Slack,得到了38亿美元的估值)。

译者/马柯斯

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