Words don’t always cut it when you need that extra face-to-face effect. That’s when an emoticon can come in handy.
Not to be left behind, China’s WeChat has jumped on the sticker trend. Here’s how the two compare:
- 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.
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.
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:
While others had a flat, commercial personality:
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.
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