Amazon is making its debut into the social messaging sphere by launching its own messaging app ‘Anytime’, with added extras of splitting bills, ordering food in a group chat, and of course making video calls with the all-important masks and filters.
Amazon Anytime is reminiscent of the competitors already on the market like WhatsApp, Kik, and Google Allo (I may be the only user though!) It is also strikingly similar to the Chinese messaging app WeChat, one of the most multifaceted messaging and service apps that exists. It is hugely popular in urban China with more than 800 million users, and allows for online shopping, ordering food, and booking theatre tickets or holidays abroad.
Amazon must be taking hints from the apps created by the big tech giants in China, commonly known as BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent). The latter specialises in online games and social media and is now the world’s tenth most valuable public firm, worth $275 billion dollars.
The New York Times recently reported about the obsolete nature of cash for Chinese consumers as they have made that transition into paperless payment. QR technology does appear occasionally in our day-to-day lives, for instance logging onto WhatsApp Web or accessing promo material, but it is now essential for Chinese consumers as most payment interactions involve a QR code of some sort. Even the buskers are ahead of the game; by putting up boards with QR codes passers-by can transfer tips directly.
Would this system be suitable for us? Our transition began with contactless card payments, which does save a lot of time, but we are still lagging behind the tech-centric China. It will be interesting to see how this app merges into our day-to-day lives, and to see what else Amazon will learn from the Chinese tech giants in the future.