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NEWS// Email is dead in China

NEWS// Email is dead in China

Email is dead in China!

OK. That’s an over-statement. But not by much.

Cell phones over PCs

Because most Chinese came to internet communication through their cell phones rather than PCs, they have almost entirely skipped the email stage of cyber evolution. 

According to an article on Quartz (, “In China ... email never reached the ubiquity it has in other countries. Most Chinese consumers, if they have an email address, seldom use it. Chat, instead, remains the preferred method of communication–between friends, families, colleagues, business partners, and even strangers.”

WeChat domination

Chat is China is driven by WeChat. With over 900 million monthly users, WeChat is the mobile phone app of choice in China. WeChat allows text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, video conferencing, video games, sharing of photographs and videos, and location sharing. An automatic translation service is available. Funds can be transferred. And much more.

“Some argue that email is simply less compatible with Chinese culture than chat, particularly in the workplace,” Quartz says. “Thomas Luo, founder of PingWest, a Chinese tech blog with writers in China and the US, says that sending emails in China feels similar to sending money to a bank account. To him, email doesn’t merge easily with China’s business culture, which tends to be informal and fast-paced. These qualities, he argues, are better suited to chat software.”

Chinese culture favors chat

“In China,” Luo says, “email is strongly connected with MOUs [memorandums of understanding] and contracts. This sort of thing is strongly respected in West, but in China we tend to prefer to agreements orally,” he says.

The decline and demise of email has long been predicted in the West. But email continues to have a significant role in Western online communication. Quartz says, “If and when email dies, the global internet will simply look a little more like China’s.”

Read the entire article by tapping here. WeChat is available on U.S. phones. Download the free app from your favorite app store.