Here is an overview for beginners to the WeChat platform on how to open an official WeChat account. This is one of the most frequent discussions we have with our partners. As a non-Chinese entity, it can be more difficult but here we will explore your options.
Register an Official WeChat Account for an Overseas Company:
- Creation depending on the country, brand awareness, and industry
- Registration between 1-2 months
- Provide a list of documents
- Have a business license
- Have certificates
- Pay the account, pricing starts at $500
- Creation of a menu
WeChat has hit 1.2 billion monthly active users in 2021
WeChat recently hit a record level of 1.2 billion monthly active users on the platform. The barriers to entry into WeChat are actually an advantage for savvy businesses that seize the chance to market themselves on China’s largest and most active social network.
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There is a clear division between how Chinese and non-Chinese operations are dealt with. For instance, if you have a CBL (Chinese business license) you can simply apply under your business name with a Chinese representative. On the other hand, if you are not a registered business in China there are a series of options that can be taken depending on budget, time frame, and business concept.
WeChat’s penetration of Chinese Netizens reaches 93% in China’s Top Tier cities.
Registering for a Wechat Official Account as a Chinese Organization:
In order to register an official account through WeChat’s self-service platform, you will need the following:
- A Chinese ID (身份证 or shēnfèn zhèng)
- A Chinese phone number
- A Chinese business license if you have one (营业执照 or yíngyè zhízhào)
- Chinese organization code (组织机构代码证 or zǔzhī jīgòu dàimǎzhèng)
The registration process is entirely in Chinese. Head to the WeChat public platform website for a step-by-step application. If you are not familiar with the process, you should request help from a local agency.
From here the procedure is simple for Chinese registered businesses. Ensure you have a Chinese representative to manage the set up as their id photo and number is required.
You will then have to wait for verification and select whether you want to open a service or subscription account. Typically, opening a service account is the preferable option for most businesses.
Registering for an Official Account as a Non-Registered Entity in China:
#1 Application via WeChat Directly
The honest truth is that the process for registration is a little unclear. Indeed, few guidelines have actually been provided and one gets the impression this is deliberate. The platform is selecting & prioritizing the most innovative concepts and adds opportunities through such a selection process.
WeChat has famously been reticent to discuss in depth how the application process works for foreign entities but here is the current protocol:
First, go to wechat.com
You will need to outline how you plan to use your account. You need to pitch to them the business concept; how you will use the account and what the use of you being on WeChat actually is. Can you bring anything interesting to WeChat users?
When it comes to proposals you can consider a number of factors:
- Design (HTM5 format for WeChat)
- Page layouts
- Will the official account be connected to a WeChat store?
- What is your promotional strategy?
- And what is your ad spend?
Business credentials are important, you need to include:
- A local phone number
- Business email address
- Documentation to prove the existence of the company (business license, tax form etc.)
To clarify, the more documents you can send, the better. Give copies of anything that further validates the existence of the business – even send business cards!
#2 Prepare an Investment of 3K RMB (500 USD)
Tencent team recommended a minimum of 200 000 RMB in ad spend which will also need to be detailed. This includes moments ads & display ads.
It seems the platform is seeking to be selective when handing out applications to companies. For instance, companies that are more likely to invest in innovation have more chances to succeed. WeChat is a hub of innovation, therefore presenting a strategy that demonstrates this is beneficial.
Similarly, in terms of accounts directly authorized by WeChat, larger companies are favored. Why? Because they are believed to have the marketing resources to promote WeChat as a safe and trustworthy platform. Bear that in mind when applying. After your account is approved, WeChat will send your WeChat ID and password, which you will need to log in on the admin WeChat platform
Meanwhile, you can check the progress of your application using your email address and application number here.
Alternatively, try to contact a WeChat representative for your country (a quick google search should pull them up!)
#3 Service Account or Subscription Account?
While registering, you will have to pick a type of account. There are 3 types: service, subscription, and enterprise account. Typically, a Service Account is best for most businesses.
Service Account (Recommended)
- Access advanced WeChat public platform features
- 4 broadcasts per month. Broadcasts are received from the business as a contact in the user’s message feed directly
- The brand has a 48-hour window to reply to user messages
- Push notifications
- Custom menus for all service accounts
- Payments (API) supported for all verified accounts
Subscription Account (for companies focused on content)
- Better for businesses that want to put out content on a more regular basis (newsletters, e-mags, etc).
- No Push notifications. Instead, your followers receive your content in a special section among other subscription account content.
- The business has a 48-hour window to reply to user messages
- Businesses must be verified and use WeChat API. No customization
- No support for payments
It is vital to mention whether you wish to have access to WeChat’s advanced features and developer tools. If it is not in your proposal, it will more than likely be left out.
Setting up an account with a third party (avoid this solution)
The other strategy is to use a local third-party agent to set up an account, this would be hosted on your behalf. The plus is it is the most convenient and fastest way to get set up. You do not spend to much energy on paperwork and get started quickly. However, you do not own the account, it is owned by the party that set it up.
Furthermore, with a third-party account, there is also a small chance that it will be shut down as the process is not fully authorized. Businesses doing this have to be aware of that risk. You cannot transfer or merge an account with another one in terms of followers as they are linked solely to the initial account set up.
Can Hong Kong Company Register a WeChat Official Account?
Hong Kong companies can apply for official WeChat accounts at present (although like with anything in China there is a possibility this might change). In short, if an entity can be registered in HK it can be a lot easier to apply for official account registration through a mainland representative.
As with many processes, the barriers to entry have thus far restricted many international brands from entering the Chinese market.
WeChat Account Descriptions
Once an account name has been created it cannot be changed. So, be sure about your account name before starting the registration process. In the same vein, account summaries can be updated but only once per month. In addition, accounts cannot be attached or transferred to another account.
This highlights the importance of a proper initial setup.
To sum up on Wechat Official Account Registration:
WeChat is a great platform for marketing & business growth but it is one of many approaches that can be taken. It mainly depends on your budget and expectations. Baidu, E-Forums, PR & News Applications are also nifty ways of generating high levels of traffic, leads and for building your brand and reputation.
Need a Wechat Agency to Create your Wechat Official Account?
You need to partner with a local agency that understands the frustrations and difficulties of doing business in this vastly different marketplace. We are an international team of 70+ based in Shanghai who look forward to hearing more about your project.