WeChat now counts 1 billion monthly active users (MAU) worldwide. Chinese users spend over three hours a day on WeChat. In the following, we will explain how a foreign brand can apply a China accessible WeChat official account step by step.
Anyone who has set foot in China will be aware that China’s super app WeChat is the top of the priorities for brands hoping to enter China market. WeChat now counts 1 billion monthly active users (MAU) worldwide. Chinese users spend over three hours a day on WeChat versus just 20 minutes Americans spend on #Facebook. No wonder WeChat official accounts continue to increase in importance and effectiveness in brands' marketing strategy in China.
The most frequent inquiry I’ve had over the past few years is
“Can I set up a China-accessible WeChat Official Account if I’m a foreign company outside China?”
Many foreign brands have long been forced to go to the extent of registering a China-based entity, or hire a ‘trusted partner’ in China who effectively owns your account no matter how much you’ve invested in building it. Now, that has finally changed!
We’ve gone through the application process and would like to share the experience with anyone who also feel interested in registering this new type of WeChat Official Account owned by foreign company.
The WeChat Official Account Platform Application
To start the WeChat Official Account registration process, please click on the link.
The application is quite straightforward. Just follow the instructions such as entering your email addresses, selecting your regions, inputing the business and administration information, etc. Some key points are highlighted as below:
1) Although you can see four account types, there is only one option for overseas company - the Service Account.
2) WeChat Official Account supports more than 200 countries to register.
3) Most of the major features are included, such as 4 messages per month, chat list, etc. However, access to advanced APIs and WeChat Pay are currently not available.
The WeChat Official Account Verification Process
After you successfully create an official account, you need to verify it; otherwise, you are temporarily unable to use the broadcasting function or advanced function of the Official Account Platform. And if you fail to apply for WeChat authentication within 30 days, your official account will be canceled.
The following company information is required for verification:
Full company name
Company registration number
Company registration address
Office phone number
Scope of Business (can put “None” if the business license didn’t put it)
Company bank account including bank name, account name, account number
You also need to assign one validate contact person:
The contact information is only for the verification review. You can use the same person for both the administration and contact person.
Contact’s full name
SMS verification code
ID/Passport/Driving license number and copy
Furthermore, you need to upload the following files:
Official application letter which can be downloaded from the system, but needs to be filled out, signed & stamped
Contact person's mobile phone statement which lists his/her name, phone number and payment records from the past 3 months
Contact person ID/Passport/Driving license copies
Company office telephone statement (optional)
Other certification documents (optional)
Finally, you can now set up the name of your WeChat Official Account and pay $99 USD in total for the verification. It usually takes another 1-5 working days for Tencent’s approval.
Having a WeChat Official Account is just the first step to reach Chinese consumers.
Maintaining content for a WeChat account is actually not cheap, not to mention adding influencer marketing, paid media or promotion to increase engagement. Unless you can provide a genuine incentive or good content for audiences to stay with you, you will only struggle along with few followers or low engagement, just throwing good money after bad.
China Business Strategist and Digital Marketing Expert