In China, you can call a cab, get bubble tea delivered to your door, and even apply to get divorced all on the same social media app: WeChat. But that’s not enough to win over Shanghai lawyer Zhu.
In the seven years since WeChat was released by internet giant Tencent, it has seeped into almost every aspect of daily Chinese life, and now boasts over 1 billion monthly users worldwide — just short of the size of China’s total population. Zhu is one in a small minority of smartphone users who has never tried it.
“I hope to create more of a challenge when the government tries to map our big data,” 36-year-old Zhu, who did not want to give her real name for privacy reasons, tells Sixth Tone. The WeChat-objector lives the life of a Luddite, without e-commerce giant Alibaba’s mobile payment app Alipay or ride-hailing app Didi, which both require registration using a phone number tied to the user’s ID. “I know my data will be collected somehow in the end, but I just want to have more dignity,” she says, linking her heightened concern for privacy to her legal education.