In China, one single app offers the functionality of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and a host of others, all on a single platform that’s used by more than a billion people each month for an average of 86 (!) minutes a day.
That app is WeChat and if your company isn’t on it, you’re getting only a fraction of the China business you should be getting.
What is WeChat and why do foreign companies need an account?
WeChat is China’s “everything-app”. Virtually every smart-phone in China has it installed and, for years, the Chinese have been using it for everything from sharing photos to ordering food to getting a mortgage to paying their electricity bill to buying wealth management products. The platform is an eco-system unto itself and there are very few things you can do on a smart-phone that you can’t do without leaving the app itself.
And that was before Covid-19. Imagine the traffic it has now that people want/need to do everything remotely.
And “everything” includes applying for a residence or citizenship by investment program.
With WeChat, you can
- Publish articles and news related to your product or service
- Gain followers (just like for your Facebook page)
- Interact directly with your subscribers and readers through messages
- Build your brand’s presence and credibility in China
- Get a verified account to ensure nobody else is pretending to represent your company on Chinese social media
How can your company get an official WeChat account?
There are two types of official WeChat accounts;
- Subscription accounts
- Service accounts
Which one is right for you will depend on your needs and preferences.
A Subscription Account is content-centric and focuses on consumer activation and interaction. 80% of WeChat users subscribe to at least one subscription account. Its features are more limited, but it has better content reach than service accounts. Specific features include:
- 1 article per day, pushed to the “subscriptions” folder.
- No push notifications to users, only a red dot beside the thumbnail.
- Content is searchable on Sogou search engine (搜狗)
- Original content can be certified and re-shared by other accounts with mention to the original publisher
A Service Account, on the other hand, is more suitable for businesses that need to interact frequently with existing customers. It has more features than a subscription account, but also more limited content-reach. Specific services include:
- 4 push articles per month (but up to 8 eight articles each time)
- Push notifications are sent to users as regular chats, same as when a friend messages you
- Content not searchable on Sogou search engine (搜狗)
- There are more API and JS-SDK access that gives more flexibility to customized development. Eg.: native eCommerce features (shops, coupons and loyalty programs), WeChat login, WeChat payment, QR code tracking, follower input processing, geo-localization
For most firms in the investment migration industry, a Subscription Account will be the most suitable option.
The easy way to set up and manage your company’s WeChat account
How can you get an official WeChat account set up for your firm? Unlike for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts, you can’t simply go ahead and set up your company’s official WeChat account. This is China, after all.
Presuming you want your account to be visible within China, you have three options:
- Use your overseas business license to apply
- Use your Chinese business license to apply
- Use the Chinese business license of a third-party to apply
Option 1: Using your overseas company’s license to apply for an account.
This option will take 2-3 months to get approved and is only possible for service accounts (and not for subscription accounts). The good thing is that your company will retain direct ownership of the account.
Option 2: Using your Chinese business license to apply for an account.
If you already have a Chinese entity, this is the cheapest and quickest option.
Option 3: Use the Chinese business license of a third-party.
If you don’t have a China-registered entity, you can enlist the help of a partner company in China and use their license to apply for an account. Technically, the account will be registered in that company’s name, so it’s important that you only enlist the services of a Chinese partner you can trust, and also that the agreement with that company makes it abundantly clear that your company is the de facto owner of the account.
How can you find a third-party service provider to apply for an official WeChat account?
This is where IMI can help. Through our official partner in China – Luc Lu’s YueYangJu – IMI is able to offer a full-suite WeChat service that includes:
- Application for your company’s WeChat account using YueYangJu’s business license: You won’t need a Chinese entity.
- Setup and design of your company’s WeChat account: We’ll handle the technical aspects of developing your page.
- Translation and adaptation: Send us your content and we’ll translate it to flawless Mandarin Chinese.
- Content self-censorship: We’ll make sure your content doesn’t violate any of China’s strict norms for what may or may not be published online.
- Continuous content management: We’ll make sure your page is updated with new content regularly, in a format and typesetting suited for the audience and the platform.
- Leads-collection and back-office: We respond to the simple queries that land in your page’s inbox and collect qualified leads that we forward to you. We assign a dedicated customer service representative to respond during Chinese hours and in Chinese language.
- Build your follower-base: We’ll build your online presence through the continual promotion of your channel in both online and offline formats.
- Regular reporting: Every month, we’ll send detailed reports on performance according to KPIs that you set yourself.
Can you trust your service and that of your Chinese partner?
IMI has an official WeChat account (投资移民知情者) with more than 5,000 subscribers. Our account is technically owned and completely managed by Luc’s team in China. So, yes, we certainly trust our partners, and so can you.
In any case, you would be signing the agreement with Investment Migration Insider AS, a company registered in Norway, owned by the site’s editor, Christian Nesheim. In the case of any disputes, IMI – and not our Chinese partner company – is directly accountable.
We offer very reasonable rates that depend on whether you need all or just part of our service, how often you’d like to share content, and so on.
To learn more, get in touch with me today on firstname.lastname@example.org
Christian Henrik Nesheim
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.