China's hot messaging app WeChat may be good news for censors
BEIJING (REUTERS) - The day before China's Communist Party published one of its most important policy statements in a decade, a copy of the reform plans was already circulating on Chinese social media.
The unprecedented Nov 14 leak fuelled China's biggest stock market rally in two months as it spread on microblogs and passed from smartphone to smartphone on WeChat, a three-year-old social messaging app developed by Tencent Holdings Ltd.
WeChat, or Weixin in Chinese, meaning "micromessage", leapt from 121 million global monthly active users at the end of September 2012 to 272 million in just a year. It has quickly become the news source of choice for savvy mobile users in China, where a small army of censors scrub the country's Internet of politically sensitive news and "harmful" speech.
"For me WeChat is an essential tool," said Mr Hu Jia, a Beijing-based dissident.