New Rules: WeChat Allows Accounts for Overseas Businesses

WeChat’s global opening screen now makes a lot more sense

Opening a WeChat account in China as an international company used to be very difficult. Without a Chinese legal entity, either a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) or a Joint Venture, companies wishing to have a WeChat account often had to go through intermediaries. Companies opened accounts through marketing agencies, or other trusted partners, which wasn’t prohibited but did mean that the account was officially owned by the agent.

This, thankfully, no longer seems the case. WeChat are updating and consolidating the Official Account log-in and admin platform. The platform used to be split between WeChat OA (available to businesses outside of China but accounts couldn’t reach mainland Chinese users) and Weixin OA (available to businesses with Chinese registration and accounts are accessible to users worldwide). Now both WeChat accounts and Weixin accounts will be the same.

Companies can open an Official WeChat account for a business registered in a number of different countries. This should be a big relief to marketing teams and agencies alike; without having the complexity of the ownership of the account, the barriers to entry are lowered. We might see many more WeChat accounts, particularly for smaller businesses that want to attract Chinese tourists or overseas Chinese.

This new form of account registration isn’t limited to regular subscription and service official accounts, but also to mini-program accounts and WeChat at Work (formally WeChat Enterprise).

For companies that have already opened accounts through agents, and gone to the trouble of growing an audience, don’t despair! WeChat allows transfers of followers to the new account (while the new account still has less than 1000 fans). Both accounts need to agree to the process but other than that it seems fairly straight forward.

I don’t think I have to stress the importance of owning your own channels on digital. Any work or budget put into growing an audience on the channel should be safely with the brand in perpetuity. This is a great move from WeChat and a welcome relief.

Shout out to China Skinny for spotting this new development.

This story was first published at Half A World, visit us to keep up with the latest developments in digital in the Asia-Pacific

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