On July 14, the City of San Gabriel launched an official account on WeChat, the popular Chinese social communications app, in an ongoing effort to connect with and engage Chinese-speaking residents.
More than half of the San Gabriel population identifies as Asian, according to U.S. Census data, and the majority of those residents speak Chinese. For some, language is a barrier to connecting with the city government. With one of the only WeChat government accounts in the U.S., the city aims to break that barrier down.
WeChat, and China-based counterpart Weixin, report more than 762 million monthly active users and have surged in popularity both in the U.S. and abroad. Sixty percent of WeChat users open the app more than 10 times per day. With its official WeChat account, the city hopes to reach Chinese-speaking residents on a platform they are already using and in a language with which they are comfortable to educate them about city services, community news, public safety, upcoming events and more.
The WeChat account builds upon the city’s ongoing effort to better communicate with and serve Chinese-speaking residents, a goal laid out in the City Council’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.
“This is a great opportunity for the City of San Gabriel to better connect with our Chinese-speaking residents,” Mayor Chin Ho Liao said. “It is important for the city to continue to find new, innovative ways to reach out to all of our residents and ensure no group is left out because they don’t speak English well. WeChat will help us make sure we are including everyone.”
In 2015, the city launched an official account on Weibo, another popular Chinese social media platform, and has seen great success. The account has nearly 2,500 fans and has facilitated many new connections with local residents. Earlier this year, the city earned the Award of Excellence from the California Association of Public Information Officials for its work on the account.
The city hopes to have similar results on WeChat. Follow San Gabriel using WeChat ID: SanGabrielCity.