Chinese voicemail – Weixin (微信)

3 Feb

Even though I got my smart phone back in August, I am still told by my colleagues and friends that I am behind the times on a daily basis.  I use my smart phone mainly for looking at email, taking lots of photos and making and receiving calls and texts.

Sometime ago Li helped me put one of those bar code readers on my phone so occasionally I’ll try that feature.  Other than that – I’m pretty much uninitiated into the wonders of smart phones – that is until last week.

China has its own version of many of the popular programs in other countries.  Because of the great firewall, using the Chinese version is often much more convenient.  So instead of Twitter, people use Weibo (微博), instead of Facebook there’s another copycat, and instead of voicemail, people use Weixin (微信).  I am now the proud owner of my own Weixin account.

I think the conversation bubbles in the Weixin logo look like small ghosts

I think the conversation bubbles in the Weixin logo look like small ghosts

Though I say it is instead of voicemail, that’s not really true.  In China, most people do not have voicemail on their phone account.  It is very expensive and not common.  Weixin turns your phone into a mini recorder and allows you to send short reminders/dialogues to others on their network for free, using a wifi connection.

When you log-in for the first time it scans your phone book to see who else has a Weixin account and links you with them which is very convenient.  Within five minutes of installing it I had over 50 different people to connect with, if I so wished.  They already have millions of users, which means that since I’m not an early adopter pretty much everyone I know already has an account.

I have also heard that it is easy to share photos via Weixin as opposed to sending them in other manners though I can’t fully validate that as all of the menus are in Chinese.  The recording messages I’ve figured out – the rest, well give me another couple of weeks.

Trying new technologies and having them work is great – maybe if this turns into a success I’ll even try to figure out Weibo (the Chinese twitter).  Give me a few more months.

What’s the latest technology you’ve tried in the last couple of months?  There are so many choices competing for our attention and time that it can be difficult to pinpoint which are the most useful.  Share one that you’ve enjoyed!

9 Responses to “Chinese voicemail – Weixin (微信)”

  1. Abc in shanghai February 3, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    Being that weixin is on the other side of the great fire wall, I’ve read a few articles that talked about “their” ability to tap and ‘listen’ on what the people are saying … Be careful what you say bc someone’s listening … It does Work pretty though!

    • gkm2011 February 3, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      What you say is probably true, but if they want to listen to me wish friends Happy New Year and tell Li what he should get at the supermarket, I wish them luck! Something to keep in mind though.

  2. sarahinguangzhou February 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    I never had weixin; I didn’t know anyone else who had it so there seemed no point. I have weibo, although I don’t use it anymore. I attracted all these ‘friends’ on there; mostly Chinese people who liked the idea of ‘knowing’ a foreigner.
    Last month I took all the Chinese stuff, including QQ, off of my computer. My computer feels so much lighter and happier now.

    • gkm2011 February 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      I never got into QQ or MSN or weibo, but this weixin is pretty neat so far. Congrats on cleaning up your computer!

  3. Valerie February 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Words with Friends! I got a smart phone too back in August and dont do much with it except text and make calls and most recently play words with friends (so join if you can!) — I need to get better about using this expensive gadget for all that it can do!

    • gkm2011 February 5, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      I think I have words with friends on my ipad. I will have to research and see if I can connect with you that way. For the phone I’ll have to do some more research. Thanks for the tip!


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