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Two days into my Hong Kong experience I kept receiving messages from people in the form of voice memos sent over WhatsApp. My first reaction was that this was an incredibly lazy way of texting. And now it’s pretty much all I do. It’s efficient, quick and kind of like a better way of leaving a voicemail. One that doesn’t ask you to dial into a system and push buttons to hear the message.

Navigating ways of communicating in a new place is really interesting. I’ve not needed to get a local number because virtually all communication functions through free wifi enabled communication platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat.

It’s common to see brands placing WhatsApp or WeChat numbers on the bottom of their ads. Want to view a flat? No problem. Whatsapp the number on the advert and someone will come meet you. You can book a hair appointment or a reservation at a restaurant almost instantly.

I used to think that Twitter and designated booking email accounts were forward thinking ways of managing customers. But Instant messaging for an instant response takes customer service to a whole new level.

In many ways WeChat and WhatApp also help break down language barriers. You can communicate almost entirely through emoticons. I’m not suggesting that emoticons replace learning a language. However when trying to tell someone you are late and don’t have time to figure out which simplified Chinese character to send, an emoticon can do the trick. Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 22.44.25

Is this the way our world is moving? Instant communications, voice memos and no need for a local number? All signs point to yes (insert emoticon here).