Lessons from China – WeChat: Model for Caribbean Social Media

Go Lean Commentary

“In one country, 90 percent of adults use mobile money to conduct commercial transactions” – previous 60 Minutes report: “M-Pesa, the Future of Money”.

That country is Kenya on the African continent. That penetration rate – 90% – was believed to be one of the highest acceptance rate in any large country.

WeChat 2And now we are learning about the business model of WeChat … in China …

… it is a Social Media SuperApp, messaging and digital assistant with an electronic payment functionality similar to M-Pesa. This is the Smartphone answer to a basic phone’s utilitarianism.

See the story in the VIDEO here and the encyclopedic reference that follows:

VIDEOHow China Is Changing Your Internet – http://nyti.ms/2bhgH5s

Posted August 9, 2016 – What was once known as the land of cheap rip-offs may now offer a glimpse of the future — and American companies are taking notice. By JONAH M. KESSEL and PAUL MOZUR. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters.

Reference Title: WeChat

WeChat (literal translation: “micro message”) is a cross-platform instant messaging service developed by Tencent in China, first released in January 2011.[10] It is one of the largest standalone messaging apps by monthly active users.[11][12]

The app is available on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Symbian phones. Web-based OS X[13] and Windows[14] clients also exist; these however require the user to have the app installed on a supported mobile phone for authentication, and neither message roaming nor ‘Moments’ are provided.[15] As of May 2016, WeChat has over a billion created accounts, 700 million active users;[16] with more than 70 million outside of China (as of December 2015).[17][18]

WeChat provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, video conferencing, video games, sharing of photographs and videos, and location sharing.[19][20] It can exchange contacts with people nearby via Bluetooth, as well as providing various features for contacting people at random if desired (if these are open to it), next to integration with social networking services such as those run by Facebook and Tencent QQ.[21] Photographs may also be embellished with filters and captions, and a machine translation service is available.

For work purposes, companies and business communication, a special version of WeChat called Enterprise WeChat (or Qiye Weixin) was launched in April 2016. The app is meant to help employees separate work from private life.[22] Except the usual chat features, the program lets companies and their employees keep track of annual leave days and expenses that need to be reimbursed, employees can ask for time off or even clock in to show they are at work.[22][23] Security has been upgraded and companies must register before their employees can use the service.[24][25]

Security concerns
WeChat operates from China under Chinese law, which includes strong censorship provisions and interception protocols.[51] WeChat contains the ability to access the text messages and contact books of its users and users’ locations through the GPS feature.[51] Countries and regions such as India, the United States, China and Taiwan all fear that the app poses a threat to national or regional security for various reasons.[51][52][53] In Taiwan, legislators were concerned that the potential exposure of private communications was a threat to regional security.[51] In June 2013, the Indian Intelligence Bureau flagged WeChat for security concerns. India has debated whether or not they should ban WeChat for its possibility in collecting too much personal information and data from its users.[53][54][55]
Source: Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia – Retrieved August 30, 2016 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WeChat

WeChat 1

This push for emergence of Internet & Communications Technologies is a familiar advocacy for the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. The book identifies a possible universe of 130 million active users; this is huge from a Caribbean perspective, but actually small compared to other source countries. The book detailed the full inventory of global Social Media sites around the words with greater than 100 million active users as of November 2013. See the list here:



Registered users

Active user accounts

Date of stat

Date launched

Country of origin


Facebook 1+ billion 1 billion October 2012 February 2004 United States


Tencent QQ 784+ million 712 million September 2012 2003 China


Skype 663+ million 280 million January 2013 August 2003 Estonia


Google+ 500+ million 235 million December 2012 June 2011 United States


Twitter 500+ million 200+ million December 2012 March 2006 United States


LinkedIn 200+ million 160 million January 2013 May 2003 United States


Tencent Qzone 597 million 150 million September 2012 2005 China


Sina Weibo 400+ million 100+ million February 2013 August 2009 China


Dropbox 100+ million 100 million November 2012 September 2008 United States


Windows Live 100 million 100 million December 2012 November 2005 United States


Instagram 100+ million 100 million February 2013 October 2010 United States

Notice that 3 of these 11 sites are based in China. (WeChat is a product from China-based Tencent; see Appendix).

This commentary completes the series on China; this is commentary 6 of 6 in consideration of the good and bad lessons from China. The other commentaries detailed in this series are as follows:

  1. History of China Trade: Too Big to Ignore
  2. Why China will soon be Hollywood’s largest market
  3. Organ Transplantation: Facts and Fiction
  4. Mobile Game Apps: The new Playground
  5. South China Seas: Exclusive Economic Zones
  6. WeChat: Model for Caribbean Social Media – www.MyCaribbean.gov

All of these commentaries relate to nation-building, stressing the community investments required to facilitate the short-term, mid-term and long-term needs of our communities. This last commentary admires how the China-based WeChat online product is all-encompassing for all daily activities, facilitating value-added experiences for its users. It brings the benefits of the virtual world to the real world.

The WeChat experience in China is unique in that access is blocked from foreign access – no inputs nor outputs; this is referred to as the Great Firewall of China. (See more details here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/10/technology/china-homegrown-internet-companies-rest-of-the-world.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=1).

So the lesson for the Caribbean is how to regulate technology in our society. With the Great Firewall and all the security threats, we do not want to invite WeChat to the Caribbean region. Rather we want to model WeChat for our own homegrown Social Media product, identified in the Go Lean book as www.myCaribbean.gov, (but without the Great Firewall features).

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) and the Caribbean Central Bank (CCB) as regional stewards of Cyberspace and the economy, or better stated: electronic commerce. e-Commerce will drive change in payment systems, to include options depicted in the foregoing VIDEO.

The CU oversight is to be executed in conjunction with the Caribbean Postal Union (CPU), the administrator of the www.myCaribbean.gov Social Media site and network. The purpose of the CPU charter is the efficient and effective facilitation of postal mail and messaging. To be consequential in 2016, no postal initiative can launch without an online/email solution. This implementation is embedded in the Go Lean roadmap, as detailed here in the book on Page 108:

The CU will include e-delivery of government operations so as to integrate and consolidate services that are usually a cost center. The resultant economies-of-scale will result in Postal operations (CPU) emerging as a logistics Profit Center rather than Cost Center.

Cyber Mail Assistance (First Leg & Last Leg)
E-mail is a reality that should be embraced. The CPU will coordinate and collaborate with the www.myCaribbean.gov portal to offer email to all 42 million citizens, [10 million Diaspora and 80 million visitors]. The CPU will offer products, for a fee, like “last leg” postal mail for emails that need to be delivered on paper, or “first leg” postal for paper mail that can be scanned and delivered as email.

The CU, CPU and CCB are all organs of the new Caribbean elevation initiative. The CCB will facilitate transactions settlement for the new payment eco-system. The Go Lean roadmap calls for a regional currency for the Caribbean Single Market, the Caribbean Dollar (C$), to be used primarily as an electronic currency. This scheme will impact the growth of the regional economy in both the domestic and tourist markets. Economic growth is only one of the objectives of the Go Lean/CU roadmap; in fact, the Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

To be counted on the world stage, the Caribbean region must conquer Cyberspace – for our own people – to elevate the interactions among the business and consumer virtual communities. When we say interactions, we mean payment transactions as well.

The benefits are undeniable: instant access, safer transactions, expanded networks, and an expanded money supply.

This last one, expanded money supply refers to the feature in Economics of M1. Electronic payment schemes causes a shift in the measurement of M1 and M0.  M0 refers to the “cash currency” (paper notes & coins); M1 refers to the measurement of overnight bank deposits plus the “cash” in circulation (the M0). The Go Lean book explains the money multiplier effect, how M1 increases allow central banks – in this case, the CCB – to create money “from thin-air”.

A mission of the Go Lean roadmap is to prepare the Caribbean region to adapt and thrive in the new global marketplace. This goal requires strenuous currency management and technocratic oversight of the region’s technological initiatives. This need was pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14):

xv.  Whereas the business of the Federation and the commercial interest in the region cannot prosper without an efficient facilitation of postal services, the Caribbean Union must allow for the integration of the existing mail operations of the governments of the member-states into a consolidated Caribbean Postal Union, allowing for the adoption of best practices and technical advances to deliver foreign/domestic mail in the region.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

The Go Lean book details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the proper guidance for the deployment of an advanced Social Media network (and accompanying e-Payments scheme) in the Caribbean region:

Community Ethos – Economic Principles Page 21
Community Ethos – Money Multiplier Principle Page 22
Community Ethos – Security Principles – Privacy versus Public Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 35
Strategy – Mission – Fortify the monetary needs through a Currency Union Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Facilitate modern communications with postal enhancements Page 46
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Central Banking Page 73
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Postal Operations: CPU Page 78
Implementation – Assemble Central Bank Cooperative Page 96
Implementation – Assemble Caribbean Regional Organs – like CTU Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Improve Mail Services – CPU Deployments Page 108
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – #2: Currency Union / Single Currency Page 127
Anecdote – Caribbean Currencies Page 149
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Black Markets – Benefit of e-Payments Page 165
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Cruise Tourism – e-Payment scheme Page 193
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Reforms for Banking Regulations – Central Banking Efficiencies Page 199
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Main Street – Downtown Wi-Fi – Time and Place Page 201
Appendix – Assembling the Caribbean Telecommunications Union – As Regulator Page 256

As depicted in the foregoing VIDEO and these previously Go Lean blog-commentaries, those involved in retail commerce – in general – must now adapt to this new electronic commerce/payment world … or perish:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7991 Transformations: Caribbean Postal Union – Delivering the Future
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7297 Death of the ‘Department Store’: Exaggerated or Eventual
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7034 The Future of Money – M-Pesa Model
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6635 New Security Chip in Credit Cards Unveiled
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5668 Move over Mastercard/Visa… here comes a Caribbean Solution
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4425 Cash, Credit or iPhone …
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3889 Caribbean banks are ready to accept electronic payments transactions
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2488 Chinese Role Model Jack Ma brings Alibaba to America
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2074 MetroCard – Model for the Caribbean Dollar
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1416 Amazon – Role Model for Caribbean e-Commerce & Logistics
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1350 PayPal expands payment services to 10 markets
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=906 Bitcoin needs regulatory framework to change ‘risky’ image of payments
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=528 Facebook plans to provide mobile payment services

The world of Social Media networking and electronic payment systems is here. China has demonstrated a successful model for us in the Caribbean to emulate.

The lesson from China is that a low-technical population can assimilate high-tech solutions, provided that solutions are real. China has a population of 1.3 billion people; WeChat has 700 million active users. All those people cannot be “Geeks”. Many are just plain folks, the sort that comprise the 42 million in the Caribbean.

And then imagine the “Geeks”; imagine the opportunities: jobs and entrepreneurship. Imagine…

The lesson from China is that the business axiom is true:

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

This gives us confidence that the Caribbean Social Media network, www.myCaribbean.gov, can be fully accepted in the marketplace.

Yes, this Go Lean roadmap is conceivable, believable and achievable. The benefits are too enticing to ignore: fostering more e-Commerce, increasing M1, growing the economy, creating jobs, enhancing security and optimizing governance. Now is the time for all stakeholders – people and businesses – of the Caribbean to lean-in to this roadmap. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO – Preview WeChat for Android – https://youtu.be/y2uRA9qji_I

Published on Apr 25, 2016 – WeChat is a free messaging & calling app used by 700 million people that allows you to easily connect with family & friends across countries. It’s the all-in-one communications app for free text (SMS/MMS), voice & video calls, Moments, photo sharing, and games.

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