There is one particular thing about a networking scene in China. People ask your mobile instant messaging ID- to be specific, your Wechat ID-. From small friendly gatherings to business events like conferences and award ceremonies, Wechat now acts as your name card.

Within this year, I participated in various digital scoped events in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and got to exchange with people from diverse industries. During the tea breaks, as most of the networking breaks in any place go, people would approach each other, introduce themselves, exchange name cards, and have short conversations. Yet, there was always one more step in the way people networked in China.

At end of a conversation, people would most likely ask if they can add you on Wechat. For that question, your answer would be to show them your Wechat QR code so that they could scan it and add you instantly, or to tell them to add you with your mobile number written on your name card (some people have their Wechat QR code printed on the name cards). Even when they didn’t ask for your Wechat ID, you would soon notice several friend requests already sent on your Wechat account from a group of people you just exchanged with. Here is a more obvious evidence that proves how Wechat works like your name card in China. If people ran out of their name cards, instead of giving you their email address or company phone number, they would just simply add you on Wechat. Now it seems more like a Wechat exchange rather a name card exchange for networking.

Furthermore, the Wechat networking at big enough events in China doesn’t end at an individual level. Some proactive participants or event organizers usually create a group chat and invite you to it within the first few hours into the event. You can basically network with dozens of people without being face to face with them. You see, it is not so new anymore to see a few presenters in the event putting their Wechat QR code on the last slide along with their e-mail address as their contact information.

This might sound a bit out of this world for people from other nations, who tend to see an instant messenger as more of a private and friends-oriented communication tool. However, in China, using Wechat to approach people from a business perspective is considered to be quite normal. Here, like a phone number or an e-mail address, Wechat ID is a piece of essential personal information when networking. So before attending a next event in China, don’t forget to prepare your Wechat account and some name cards just in case.


Image source: yktworld 



By Mandy Shin
Analyst Consultant