The Jakarta Post
Chinese Internet giant Tencent is optimistic that its messaging application WeChat will be able to flourish in Indonesia where the number of smartphone users continues to increase.
'Indonesia is one of most important markets outside of China, given the fact that the market is so big, penetration [of smartphones] is so low and the growth is so high,' said Tencent business development director Benny Ho.
The relatively low smartphone penetration in Indonesia as compared to its population size provides a huge space for WeChat to attract more Indonesian customers who were very social online, he said during a recent interview with The Jakarta Post.
It is forecast that smartphone users in the country will soon hit around 103.6 million, somewhat less than 30 percent of the country's total population at present, according to eMarketer.
Ho said that WeChat, which has 549 million active users worldwide, felt very well positioned in the Indonesian market and would continue to grow its user base in the country.
WeChat saw an 895 percent growth in the number of users in the country for the period of 2013 and 2014, according to research firm GlobalWebIndex, surpassing WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype, which have user growth rates of 133 percent, 112 percent and 108 percent, respectively.
To further develop its business in the country, WeChat is targeting more enterprises that are now heavily dependent on messaging tools to support both their communications and marketing campaigns.
WeChat's main focus in Indonesia this year would be to attract more business entities to leverage WeChat's rich feature in supporting business activities, Ho said.
WeChat currently partners with a number e-commerce players in the country, including Lazada, Zalora and Elevenia, in promotional activities particularly to attract active WeChat users.
Ho said that the app was aiming to provide as high a level of service to enterprises in Indonesia as it already offered to clients in Las Vegas (US) and Hong Kong.
He explained that WeChat had provided a platform for a hotel in Las Vegas where customers who are WeChat users may adjust their room facilities, such as air conditioners, lamps and TVs, through WeChat.
Other than WeChat, other messaging platforms such as LINE and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) are also vying for business enterprise clients in the country.
LINE has launched a new feature dubbed [email protected] that allows sellers to broadcast their promotional activities in the form of texts, pictures or stickers to their respective followers.
BBM, meanwhile, offered a BBM Meetings that enables users to conduct business meetings over video or voice conference for a total of around 25 participants.
Ho said that WeChat would leverage its rich features, such as 1 GB of free cloud storage and file transfers, to standout from the competition.
WeChat has been present in Indonesia since 2013, with marketing operations run by MNC Tencent: a joint venture between Tencent and local conglomerate MNC Group.
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