Monday, May 13, 2013

WeChat Closes the Miles Between OFWs and their Families; Offers New Ways of Connecting Loved Ones Online

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WeChat, an innovative mobile social communication app with 300 million registered users accounts worldwide, today announced that it has succeeded in becoming one the most downloaded mobile social app in the top global destinations for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), according to the latest statistics from market intelligence and mobile applications analytics provider AppAnnie. Likely due to the intense need of Filipinos to stay in touch with their families in the Philippines, WeChat was among the top  downloads in eight of the top 10 markets with the highest populations of Filipino overseas workers, including Malaysia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar

The Philippines has branded overseas workers as the new heroes of the country or ‘Bagong Bayani’. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, over 10 million overseas Filipino workers -- equivalent to a quarter of the country’s labor force -- pumped in over $21 million in 2012. OFW remittances represent 8.5% of GDP, compensate for trade deficits and help the country accumulate over $80 billion in currency reserves. In a recent report from The Economist, the significant financial contributions of OFWs have been the sole reason for the country’s investment-grade credit rating upgrade recently made by Fitch – a first in the country’s history.

These heroes have left families and homes behind to work in foreign lands. Communicating with loved ones has been a source of happiness and motivation, as they labor miles away from their country. The advent of wireless broadband and affordable data plan offerings by telco service providers have given Filipinos the power to communicate via online applications for PCs and smartphones such as WeChat. With its unique features, WeChat enables OFWs to bridge the distance between their families through mobile and social media communications features, free-of-cost.

“I bought a tablet just so I can talk to my sister face-to-face every day through WeChat’s video chat feature,” said Letti. “But I realized the true value of the application when the so-called ‘Frankenstorm’ Sandy hit Manhattan. With my family in Manila worried about my conditions during the city-wide power and water outage, using WeChat gave me comfort in the aftermath and helped me to reassure my sister that I was alright.”

WeChat also gives OFWs the power to give loved ones back home an update on their activities through photo-sharing. Filipinos are well-known to be shutterbugs, taking snapshots of everything from their food, latest vacation spot to new shoes. WeChat’s exclusive social network “Moments” enables them to instantly share these photos with family back home.

Voice chatting is also taken a step further with WeChat. Whether individually or in a group, chatting via text or voice messages is easy and made even more fun and interactive with animated and customized emoticons. WeChat also allows content sharing via chat, so conversations become even more engaging.

With all these essential services in one easy-to-use application, WeChat eliminates the need for multiple applications to be downloaded on a single device. Whether phone, tablet or PC, WeChat can be downloaded for free on today’s most popular platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows, Symbian or BlackBerry.  WeChat has become an indispensible tool for OFWs to communicate and connect with anyone, especially family and friends in the Philippines.

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