With Tencent making it available to register an International WeChat Official Account for users and business outside of China, registering a WeChat official account in 2017 can be a little tricky. This how-to guide is designed to help foreign businesses to register and obtain an Official WeChat Subscription or Service account.
WeChat Official International Accounts VS WeChat China Official Accounts
There is a lot of confusion around registering a WeChat Official Account for foreign business. This is because there is actually two version of WeChat. There is an International WeChat and a national China WeChat.
In order to legally operate under the Chinese government information censorship policy. WeChat (Tencent) must create 2 different versions of WeChat and 2 different version of their official accounts. This means that there is literally an International WeChat Official Account and a National China WeChat Official Account. And the only different between the two is who can see and view your account and contents.
With the WeChat International Official Account, the biggest disadvantage is your content and account will not be visible to people who’ve registered and are using China version of WeChat. In other words, if your plan is to sell your product or services to the Chinese community and reach the 800 million daily active users on WeChat regardless of the user’s physical location, WeChat International Official Account will not be able to help you at all.
With a WeChat China Official Account, you do not have this problem and both international WeChat users and National China WeChat users can view and see your content.
WeChat International Official Accounts Registration
The WeChat International Official account is also called WeChat OA. The registration process is quite straightforward, as it only requires you to fill out some very basic information related to your business, such as business name, business certificate, so on and so forth. Once you filled out your information, just submit the application and wait a few days for approval. This process is simple, painless, and free of charge. You can click here to apply for an International WeChat Official Account today.
WeChat China Official Accounts Registration
In order for you to apply for a WeChat China Official Account, you must either have a legally registered business in China or is consider to be Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise(WFOE). If you’re a foreign business and do not meet either one of the criteria then sent us an email and we can do a further consult to see if we can help you acquire an account. If you do own or are planning to registered your business in China then follow this simple guide to apply for an official account.
In case you do not yet know there are actually 4 different types of WeChat official accounts. This applies both to International as well as WeChat China Official Accounts. There is a Subscription, Service, Mini Program, and Enterprise account. It is vitally important that you are clear on which type of official account you will need for your business before you jump to the application page, as they are un-switchable in the future.
WeChat Subscription Account
There is actually two subtypes of subscription account. There is a WeChat Personal Subscription account and a verified business subscription account. To obtain a personal subscription account you do not need a registered business in China, however, you do need to have a Chinese residence ID.
The key different and the most important feature of a subscription account is that you’re allowed to push 1 piece of content every single day. If you are planning to become a content publisher or if content is going to be a huge part of your marketing strategy then WeChat subscription account will be ideal for you.
WeChat Service Account
Service Account is the only WeChat official account type that will show up on your followers’ contact list as if you’re one of their friends. In other words, your followers are only one click away to access your service account, where with subscription account they will have to hit the “Subscripted Official Account” tab first, and then browse into a specific Subscription Account.
Unlike subscription account, the service account only allows you to push 4 pieces of content per month. However, the service account is also a lot more feature rich. You can use push notification, auto reply follower messages, setup WeChat store, etc… If you’re planning to brand your business or corporation, then we recommend most of our clients to get an official Service account.
WeChat Mini Program
Launched on Jan 9, 2017, and is only available for WeChat v6.5.3 and later. The idea of Mini Program is to allow business and developers to create or embedded a third party App inside the WeChat ecosystem. This is WeChat’s ambition of trying to keep the users on their own platforms for as long as possible.
There are really no limits to functionalities and potential of the Mini Programs. You can go as fancy as you can afford to pay and find good developers to work on it. And since WeChat Mini Program is really just an App and not an official account, you are not able to acquire followers, and unless you have a strategy behind the mini program you’re not likely to gain a lot of exposure or brand awareness from it either.
WeChat Enterprise Account
Enterprise Account is designed for internal communication for medium or large cooperations. It is a tool that allows your employee to manage and communicate their daily activities.
Step by Step Guide to WeChat Service Account Registration
Step #1: Enter Basic Information
Visit the WeChat China Official Account registration page, and enter your email and other basic info. Hit enter and you’ll receive an email for confirmation for your account setup.
Step 2: Verify Email
Click the link in your email to verify the account you setup so far.
Step 3: Choose Account Type
Select the Service Account type or whichever account type you’re trying to register for.
IMPORTANT: Once you register the account you cannot change the account type. So make sure you are very sure on the WeChat Official Account type you’ll need for your business.
Step 4: Choose Account Owner Type
Choose to register the official account as an Enterprise (Business). We’re still registering an official service account, this process is not to register an “Enterprise Account”, it is simply telling WeChat that you’re registering the account as a business and not an individual.
Step 5: Enter Business Information
Fill with your business name and business registration number that can be found on your Chinese business certificate.
Step 6: Choose Verification Type
Here you can choose how you want to verify all the information you’ve just enter. Choose to verify using WeChat Verification, since you need to verify your WeChat account later anyway.
Step 7: Enter Business Owner Information
Here you’ll need to fill information of the business owner or owner of the Official Account. This information will not be released to the public. Note the owner id is your Chinese residence ID, if you don’t have one the best option is to ask a trusted employee or a trusted partner.
Step 8: Associate Your Personal WeChat Account with This Official Account
Use the owner’s personal WeChat account to scan the barcode to associate the Official Account. The personal account has to be bonded with a Chinese bank card (debit or credit).
Step 9: Enter Account Name & Description
Fill out your Official Account Name (30 char max.) and Description (120 char max.), remember you cannot username that is already in use by another account.
Step 10: All Done
Completed! Next step will be verifying your Official Account. Now you can try to apply a WeChat Official Account of China
Q: What to do if my Company is not yet registered in China?
A: You can register an International WeChat Official Account. But if you’re looking to register a China official account then your only option is to find a trustworthy company that can help you register and verify an official account for you.
Q: Is there any other way to obtain a China WeChat official account without renting?
A: As of right now, no there is no other way.
Q: How many WeChat official account can I register?
A: You can register max 20 WeChat official account per one registered business ID in China.
Q: Do I need a verified WeChat official account to advertise on WeChat?
A: Yes, you do need a verified business account?
Q: What is a WeChat personal official account?
A: Apart from the 4 different verified official account we’ve mentioned here in this guide, there is a WeChat personal official account which does not need to be verified. However, you’ll still need a Chinese residence ID number to register the account and the account is limited for content pushing only.
Still, Need Help?
To obtain or register a WeChat China Official Account is a confusion and difficult process, especially if you do not yet have a legally registered business in China. If you have any question or would like to know how we can help you make this process easier, click here to talk to our WeChat experts or simply contact us here.