Chat App Sticker Wars Have Begun

Examples of stickers available through Google Chrome. (Google)
Examples of stickers available through Google Chrome. (Google)

Words don’t always cut it when you need that extra face-to-face effect. That’s when an emoticon can come in handy.

Japanese chat app Line has made a killing on a booming revenue model sellingstickers, essentially, more detailed emoticons.

Not to be left behind, China’s WeChat has jumped on the sticker trend. Here’s how the two compare:

Line

  • Distinctly Japanese: clean art style, the expressions are based on Japanese manga conventions.
  • cute characters, stark expressions, and plenty of comical situations just vague enough to apply to whatever situation comes up.
Screenshot of Line’s online sticker store.

Screenshot of Line’s online sticker store.

One of the most popular stickers involves the love story between a bear and a bunny, mirroring stereotypical East Asian male-female relationship dynamics. Note the stoic male character versus the shopaholic and emotionally effusive female character.

Screenshot of Line’s online sticker store.

Screenshot of Line’s online sticker store.

WeChat stickers: wacky and weird in Mainland Chinese way

When it was launched, the company had already licensed the now Turner-owned Tuzki line of emoticons that were all the rage on the Chinese Internet about 5-10 years ago:

But aside from Tuzki, their initial sticker packs felt somewhat weaker. Some resembled Line’s Japanese creations but without the punch:

Nervous Boy by Caerux

Nervous Boy by Caerux

While others had a flat, commercial personality:

DADA by 2SPOT

DADA by 2SPOT

Recently, WeChat’s stickers have started to develop a style of their own.

  • They’re wacky, weird and funny in their own way.
  • There’s a very Chinese flavor to them — the grainy lines, absurd sense of humor and adult style are reminiscent of the kind of illustration and design coming out of China today.
Frog and Horse by XiaoYaoJi

Frog and Horse by XiaoYaoJi

AH FEI@GAL by Graphic Airlines

AH [email protected] by Graphic Airlines

It’s still too early to tell whether WeChat’s sticker system will continue to evolve. But as it stands, WeChat is already catching up to Line and jumping ahead of its other competitors.

Edited by Ben Grinberg

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