Bill Gates Joins WeChat, Welcomes Netizens in Mandarin
Microsoft founder Bill Gates now has his own account on WeChat, the most popular social network in China with more than 800 million monthly active users.
Gates first joined the Tencent-owned messaging app on Saturday with a 30-second video clip welcoming Chinese netizens to his account in Mandarin, according to Mashable.
WeChat features a messaging interface similar to that of WhatsApp and allows users to blog about their lives on its timeline, just like Facebook and Twitter — which are both currently blocked in China.
Users can also use the app to pay bills, read news and hail a taxi cab.
Gates, whose username is @gatesnotes, said the purpose of his WeChat account is to “share about the people I meet, the books I’m reading and what I’m learning,” and invited users to join in on the conversation.
The video has gained more than 90,000 views and over 7,000 likes since it was first posted on the social network.
Launched in 2011, WeChat has around 846 million users signed up, including American celebrities such as Adam Lambert, Selena Gomez and even the Backstreet Boys, who all use the app to communicate with fans in China.
Gates also has an account on Weibo, a microblogging site similar to Twitter, that he signed up for in 2010, with more than 3 million followers.
The entrepreneur and philanthropist has provided Weibo followers with posts on a number of topics, including climate change and tackling poverty around the world.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and physicist Stephen Hawking have WeChat accounts, as well.
According to South China Morning Post, Gates’ WeChat account has yet to be verified, but it’s been set up by Beijing consulting firm Boruizhi.
It turns out that one of the shareholders of Boruizhi is Global Health Strategies, a U.S.-based consulting firm that has teamed up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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