Caixin
Oct 16, 2020 06:10 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Huawei Executive Says 5G Messaging Won’t Pose Direct Threat to WeChat

What’s new: Maurice Ma, president of the software business unit department of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., downplayed the idea that 5G messaging and WeChat will directly compete with each other, saying they could even cooperate at some point in terms of payment services. The comments were made at an industry event in Beijing on Thursday.

The 5G messaging service is a kind of rich communications service (RCS), and can be thought of as a more advanced type of SMS that includes functions like high-definition video, group chats, branding, sharing of GIFs, chatbots and other content not available through standard text messages.

Ma said that full deployment of 5G messaging won’t happen until construction of the network is complete and users have upgrade to 5G capable devices, which will take at least another year.

What’s the background: Ma’s comment came as China’s three largest state-owned mobile carriers — China Mobile Ltd., China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd. (China Unicom) and China Telecommunications Corp. (China Telecom) — teamed up in April to launch a 5G-enabled messaging platform, which many consider to be a move to challenge mega-apps like WeChat.

Zhao Yongjun, head of the department in charge of Huawei’s telecom businesses, said that the current application for 5G messaging at Huawai is mainly used to deliver information for specific sectors such as banking, tourism and government. He said that at the end of this month, Huawei, in cooperation with China Mobile, will complete construction of the 5G network in the southern provinces of Guangdong and Hainan, as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Related: China’s Mobile Carriers Want to Beat WeChat at Its Own Game

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Timmy Shen (hongmingshen@caixin.com) and editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

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