Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the common digital marketing tools for overseas companies to promote the products and services.

These are no-brainers for online marketers, and with a well-planned strategy, they can achieve the desired results. However, in China, we use different channels—these are the websites that Chinese consumers and often visit such as Weixin (WeChat), Weibo, Yukou Tudou, and QQ.

As of press time, WeChat users have reached more than 1 billion monthly active users.

Overseas companies might be wondering how they can use these services to reach out to Chinese consumers. However, there are some important notes to keep in mind if you want to use Weixin, which is re-branded for its international name as WeChat.

  • Companies outside of China can apply for WeChat Official Account.
  • Registered users of the Chinese version don’t have access to official accounts registered outside of China.
  • Registered users of the international version can access Chinese and non-Chinese official accounts.

How to get an official WeChat account for business

WeChat accounts for business

The localized version of WeChat (Weixin) has different functions to its international counterpart. (E.g. Facebook and Twitter integrations are not available in the Chinese version.)

You can register either of the following:

Service account – you can access the advanced features of WeChat and APIs for payments and custom menus. Followers can receive four messages per month, and you can interact with them one-by-one using a chat feature within 48 hours. Your account sits next to their contact list.

Subscription account (Official Account) – this type of account is a distribution-oriented method, allowing you to disseminate content to all subscribers in a reader-management platform. It also comes with a chat feature and your account is found in the users’ contact list. You can send disseminate messages per day, manage your subscribers, but you can’t access the payment API. Registered individuals can’t access the menus. However, businesses should be verified first before accessing an API.

Note: The subscription account’s advantage is that you can blast updates on a daily basis, but users will not be notified regarding your update since the recent Weixin version collects all updates of a brand in a folder under the users’ subscriptions page. <>

How to register a WeChat official account outside of China

As of September 2014, overseas companies can self-register in http://apply.wechat.com/

On the application form, you must fill in the following details and send your proposal and how you will use it, whether typing all information in the entry field or uploading a document.

WeChat will email your ID and password that you can use in admin.wechat.com.

If you haven’t received any update for days, you can make a follow-up or check the progress of your application on this page below.

Many registrants have reported that the process is slow or sometimes they haven’t received any response from WeChat team. You may email bd@wechat.com and oa@wechat.com.

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