Title: Understanding key factors affecting young people's WeChat usage: an empirical study from uses and gratifications perspective

Authors: Hua Pang

Addresses: Institute of Media and Communication, IFK, Dresden University of Technology, Zellescher Weg 17, 01069 Dresden, Germany

Abstract: WeChat, a newly fashionable mobile app, has been widely used by young adults in China in recent years. However, it remains unclear why and how young people adopt it. The present study attempts to fill the current knowledge gap by investigating young people's motivations in the light of the well-grounded uses and gratifications framework. Data are collected from online questionnaires based on 170 survey samples of young people in the age of 18 to 30. A principal components factor analysis identified four types of motives for using WeChat: pastime, affection, sociability and fashion. The remarkable finding is that, pastime and affection are predictive constructs for predicting WeChat usage behaviours through applying the regression analysis. Although female users tend to use WeChat more often and spend more time on each session than male users, the latter are more enthusiastic about using WeChat as a mean of interpersonal communication and following fashion. This research is expected to obtain a better understanding of the powerful influence of the fastest-growing social media on the young adult cohort.

Keywords: WeChat usage; user gratification; gratification obtained; gratification sought; social media; mobile apps; mobile internet; young people; China; youth; young adults; adoption motivation; principal component analysis; PCA; pastime; affection; sociability; fashion; interpersonal communication; gender; user behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2016.077757

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2016 Vol.12 No.3, pp.262 - 278

Received: 06 Jul 2015
Accepted: 18 Jan 2016

Published online: 14 Jul 2016 *

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