The last mover: how Facebook predicts the future copying Chinese companies

For the last year I’ve been traveling around Asia, specially in China, and I’ve discovered a common pattern that explain what’s coming next in the western world. It actually can be described in two points: (1) smartphones are replacing computers and (2) people do everything with them, usually through one main platform (Alipay or Wechat—which are Chinese payments and messaging platforms).
These points are not news, but since I started to observe the Asian market, I noticed that the mobile adoption exploded when people that has never used a computer starts using a smartphone. For them is terrific, they have everything they need in one place. Apps where to buy and sell, and apps—linked—to receive and send money. Even better, when everything is in one platform the adoption is higher.
Alipay is the pioneer platform and one of the biggest one out there in Asia. But I found more interesting Wechat, the online messaging Chinese platform that can be described as a mix of Whatsapp, Paypal, Facebook—and more.
The real power of Wechat is a solely platform, where users can do everything they want without closing it. You can chat with your colleagues Pay at the supermarket through a QR code. Receive and send money to friends. It’s all in one. And that’s where it power resides.
Thus, it’s easy to see what’s coming next in western countries. Without a doubt, we are way far when it comes to mobile adoption. And companies like Facebook know that.
When you look at Facebook, it’s clear their strategy behind Facebook Messenger. They want the same as Wechat does. A platform where users can do everything in a solely platform. Pay, buy, sell, interact with brands,… a lifestyle.
Those are moves that match with Facebook’s story: a community of people, interacting with each other. And if you’ve paid attention to them for the last months, you’ve noticed their strategy. Since Wechat and Alipay have these features for a while ago, Facebook is just getting started. It’s easy to predict their next move: a mix of Alipay and Wechat where users don’t need to change the app to do something. That’s more knowledge about you, and control over your next move since you don’t need to close the app. And less privacy for you.
They don’t innovate because they don’t need to. Other companies have done that in Asian market. Therefore, nothing needs to be proved.
Why haven’t they done it yet? Because the market it’s not ready.
Facebook looks like Microsoft in the past, copying smartly works. And sometimes that’s the way to predict the future.