How to apply for a verified WeChat account
Since its launch in 2011, WeChat has quickly become the most popular social media platform among Chinese internet users. The latest statistics show that the number of monthly active users is almost 1 billion worldwide.
WeChat provides businesses with the opportunity to sign up for a verified official account, which allows them to engage with their audiences in China directly. Given WeChat’s popularity in the Chinese market, an increasing number of businesses are considering using this service to raise their profile.
However, Tencent, the company that owns WeChat, does not have a transparent policy for how it deals with companies registered outside China. This means that the process of creating an account can be confusing and frustrating for overseas businesses. In this post, we will explain how you can deal with this issue.
Option 1: Using WeChat’s international partner agencies
In some countries, Tencent has partnerships with local agencies. These agencies can help local companies sign up for a verified official WeChat account. As part of this process, the company needs to submit a copy of their local government business registers to allow their account to be validated.
Once created, the company’s account will include a profile page that shows their legal name and a verified badge. The company will also have the option of using WeChat’s advertising services, allowing them to reach users who are not following their account.
Figure 1. A verified public account which follows option 1. The legal name of the business is shown on the profile.
Tencent deals with applications that follow this route on a case-by-case basis, meaning that it is more expensive and time-consuming than the application procedure for companies registered in China. The application procedure usually takes two to three months. Tencent’s partner agencies charge around $1,120 USD for setting up an official account and keeping it ‘alive’ for a year. Businesses will then also need to pay around $120 USD per year in order to keep the account going.
This application route currently only applies to companies registered in the following countries: England, France, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand.
In addition, businesses registered in the following countries can apply for an account in this way but must commit to using WeChat’s advertising services: UAE, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Cambodia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Vietnam, Finland.
Option 2: Using a third-party Chinese agency to sign up for an official account
The only solution for companies that want a verified public account but are not registered in the countries listed above is to use the license of a third-party Chinese company.
There are agencies in China who can help overseas businesses to create official accounts on WeChat through this method. This service is much cheaper and less time-consuming. It takes around 7 business days to sign up for the account and the admin fees charged are usually less than $120 USD.
However, the issue with this route is that, once created, the verified account actually belongs to the third-party agency rather than the business itself. The agency’s name and information will be shown on the profile page of the account, meaning that followers might question the account’s authenticity.
Figure 2. A verified public account which follows option 2. The legal name of the business is not shown on the profile.
WeChat has become a platform that businesses cannot ignore if they want to engage with Chinese consumers. However, signing up for an account is not simple for foreign businesses. Tencent’s policy is not transparent and can be hard to understand. In addition, various legal and political issues mean that it is constantly changing.
If you are based outside of China and want to use WeChat to raise your profile, it’s essential to find an expert than can support you. At Pickle Jar Communications we offer consultancy to guide you in your efforts to reach the Chinese market. If you have questions about using WeChat for digital marketing in China, get in touch at email@example.com.