Business & Life, on WeChat

Business & Life, on WeChat

Erik Tharp Shenzhen, China Copyright © 1998-2017 Tencent Inc. All Rights Reserved. It wouldn’t be right to say WeChat is a chat app, nor would it be apt to describe it as simply a social media platform. It’s everywhere, and everything. It’s big and comprehensive and permeates life in China at all levels. At the most basic level, yes, it is social media. WeChat allows users to stay connected with friends via chat and groups, has a video calling feature, and Moments enable people to share photos, thoughts, and articles not unlike posting on Facebook. However, it isn’t limited to these features, and unlike platforms such as Facebook, it isn’t competing with other social media apps to be the dominant purveyor of social interaction. Since its inception in 2011, WeChat has been dominant, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Business Due to its ubiquitous nature, WeChat is an incredibly useful tool for business in China. Everyone is on WeChat at almost all times, and...
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How Living in China Changed the Way I Make

How Living in China Changed the Way I Make

Gordon McCambridge Shenzhen, China I would joke with my engineering friends in college that we were receiving degrees in online shopping. The pattern for many of my classes and projects was to dig through McMaster or Digikey Monday and Tuesday, pay an arm and a leg for components to arrive by Thursday morning, and then spend a day and a half frantically using the tools at hand to hack everything together in advance of a Friday design review – repeat. That was likely a best-case scenario: I remember waiting three excruciating weeks for circuit boards to arrive, planning entire projects around these sorts of long critical lead times. It may go without saying that since I moved to China in the fall of 2015 and learned the ropes of Shenzhen that virtually every piece of the “making” process has changed for me. By no means am I cured of my American ways – almost two years later I’m still finding ways to challenge...
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