Why Did WeChat Fail In India?


With hindsight, Gupta says, if the approach to marketing in India had focused on fixing the product design instead of focusing on brands, things might have turned out differently for the super app.


The (Chinese) app had good early traction (in India).

“We had gained about 20-25 million subscribers during the campaign. For 45 days, WeChat was the top ranking app on Google Playstore,” the former executive says.

Initially, it appeared that WeChat’s China playbook was successful in India.

But like a roller coaster in an adventure park, the WeChat trajectory turned direction and began to nosedive fast. The number of uninstalls increased. There was no stickiness to the app. Soon, there were news reports that suggested that the app could be banned by the government. That was the beginning of the end for WeChat in India.


Product (actual customer experience) > Brand ?

Another version of this theme is ofo:

The world’s largest bike ride-sharing company Ofo launched in India in February this year only to wind up operations in less than six months.

…Ofo India team’s attempts…went through long gestation periods and prioritisation cycles, while its smaller and more agile rivals were faster when it came to improving their apps to suit Indian users.

Article here.

Rivals who improve faster…win (in this case).

It’s hard to improve. But one essential (though not sufficient) condition is mindset to Fail Fast.

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