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WeChat gets talking in US market


04-16-2017 10:43 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

For many in China, WeChat has become a way of life for communication, entertainment and making payments. But its impact in the US has so far been limited. That could soon change as it begins taking on new partners. 

Inside San Francisco's Asian Art museum, Chinese history mixes with "tech history" in the making.

At the WeChat U-S China Strong conference, Silicon Valley startup Citcon shows off the only payment processor in the US that helps merchants accept WeChat Pay.

"Last year, over 100 million Chinese people travel outside of China. Once they see this place can accept WeChat Pay, I can use my mobile phone. They certainly receive much warmer welcome with foreign countries,"  said Chuck Huang, CEO, Citcon.

"WeChat is way better as a communications tool than anything we have here in the U.S. There are some interesting technologies that now need to go back to the U.S.," said Tim Draper, Venture Capitalist.

WeChat is moving in that direction by teaming up with the U.S. China Strong foundation on a special WeChat account.

U.S. China Strong's current goal is to get one million grade school and high school students to study Mandarin in the U.S.

Right now, that number is at about 400,000.

"Language is one of those tools that if you don't use it on a continuous basis. Your skills begin to deteriorate rapidly. This is one of those ways where using technology, you can not only build cultural bridges, but also enable individuals to extend their learning of Mandarin," said Eugene Huang, Acting CEO, US-China Strong.

U.S. China Strong's account on WeChat essentially has three parts. There's a place to connect to alumni, a place to explore learning Mandarin in China. Then there's a place for fun-where you can play games to learn Chinese. And then there's something called Crazy Fresh Chinese.
Ten debut episodes from the host of Crazy Fresh English.

Jessica Beinecke became a viral star in China by teaching English slang and culture to Chinese on Weibo and now Chinese to English-speakers.

"I absolutely think social media is a great way for the two cultures to come together. I think you are communicating with people much more often. And you are learning about them on a daily basis. The more that can happen between U.S. and China the better," she said.

Although this is just the beginning of its collaboration with WeChat, U.S. China Strong hopes this platform will also allow young people to find their own ways to bridge the cultural gap.

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