Tencent released data reveals the status of Wechat usages: up to Sep. 2018, the MAU reaches 1.08 billion in China, covering all age groups with 63 million MAUs aging above 55 years old. Its usage as a lifestyle tool for transportation, shopping, and payment makes it a necessity for nearly every smart mobile user in China. Needless to say, if one brand wants to launch a social media marketing plan in China market, Wechat is a first and must choose. Among all the marketing platforms provided by Wechat, Wechat Official Account platform is the most successful and mature one by now.
Common roadmap for Wechat Official Account marketing contains:
For many foreign brands that don’t have China presence, the marketing pace is stopped at the very beginning. To open a Wechat Official Account requires a China company BR. This can be a big obstacle when the brands intend to test the market without a big investment. Common practice for these sort of brands is opening up the account with a trusted distributor, agent or a marketing agency’s entity license. Yet still, this is not the best option for them.
First is because their partner owns the account and controls the content. Brands have to bear the business and moral risk of their partners.
The second problem is that no matter how successful the account is operated, the result and ownership belongs to the partner instead of brand, along with all other digital assets.
Last but not least, the scene can turn ugly when the brand change partners. This is not abnormal in the business field but when the change does appears, it still can be quite troublesome for not only the brand, the old agency but also the new agency.
With all the concerns out there, brand owners are not willing to go deeper or invest much on this platform. Some would only try publishing content on the account and never launch any promotional campaigns. Many would confirm once and once again with a partner on liabilities and limitations etc. Performance outcome is easy to forecast.
Things turn better last year in late 2018. Tencent allowed setting up WeChat Official Account with an overseas business license which is visible for mainland Chinese WeChat users. This is exciting news for many overseas business owners and we have field tested this approach to prove it feasible.
Steps for Wechat Official Account setup with overseas BR
2, Select an account type. (Subscription Account/Service Account/Enterprise Wechat)
In the Chinese Mainland, three types are available, but in overseas regions, only Service Account is available.
3, Input basic info. Key fields needed for registration:
Company registration number/Business license number
Admin’s ID card/passport/driver’s license, mobile phone number
After submission, your application will be waiting for approval. But to get your account you need to take one more step: getting Wechat Verification. Steps are:
1, Input basic info. Key fields needed are:
Company registration address
Company office address
Company Bank Account
Legal representative name
Contact person landline
2, Upload Information. Materials required are:
Official application letter (download it, fill in the blanks and upload)
Operator’s mobile phone statement
3, Contact person ID (ID card, passport, or driver’s license) front and back
4, Confirm Account Info (Trademark registration certificate/trademark authorization is required.)
5, Pay verification fee: $99
After receiving the payment, Tencent will assign a third-party audit company to verify the info. It takes usually 1-3 days for approval and then you’d be good on your way! These are the simplified steps and you can check a detailed manual organized by Jademond from here.
Taking a step forward
Once the Wechat Official Account is set up, many enterprises will consider opening Wechat Mini Program to sell online. The admin can apply for this feature directly in the Wechat Official Account backend. However, if the enterprise wants to enable Wechat Pay, it has to go through a third-party and complete a more complex process. Jademond will take about the payment options in details in our following posts. Stay tuned!
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