Slack should be very afraid.
Today WeChat launched its anticipated work chat app, WeChat Enterprise, set to directly compete with the likes of Slack, which is probably the most popular office chat app to date.
The app, being dubbed by fans as WeSlack, is currently only available in Chinese for iOS, Android, Windows, and OS X, however it’s likely that it will launch in other languages soon.
Related: Slack releases its platform road map on Trello for the world to see
WeChat Enterprise includes some great features that are expected for an app of this kind, but it also brings some new features that are likely to help it draw users in who have yet to sign off on using an office chat app.
For example, using the app you’ll be able to mark when you’re on break, and even hold voice chats if you want. Not only that, but companies can build in features like automated forms for reimbursements, vacation time, and so on.
When a call is made through WeChat Enterprise, the calls can even be charged to the business using the app — a feature that we haven’t seen in other office chat services. And, of course, as a chat app it’ll give you access to a range of emoticons and stickers.
The main drawback to the service, however, is that it’s currently a little difficult to get started using it. Companies in China who already have business WeChat accounts can easily download the app and start using it after following a few simple steps. Smaller businesses without official Chinese business licenses, however, won’t be able to use the new app. It’s not yet known exactly when the app might be available outside of China.
It’s clear that Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, is trying to secure a place in the growing office space in China. Tencent already owns the Chinese mobile messaging market with the likes of WeChat and QQ.
Of course, Slack is under no real threat outside of China yet, but the release could push Slack to implement some of WeChat Enterprise’s features, so that when the time for a more international release does come, the company won’t be caught with an inferior service.