In the dim, dark past, ‘overseas’ type WeChat accounts were not visible to mainland China WeChat users. This meant that businesses wanting their company’s WeChat account to be visible to and promoted to mainland Chinese in China would have to set up a China-based account and, as such, navigate the complex regulatory environment in China to do so.
A China-based WeChat Official Account involved setting up a Chinese business entity, bank account, address, and all the complexities that came with that – a significant hindrance to many businesses wanting to market their products and services to Chinese people over this promising platform.
All that has now changed, as Tencent, the software company behind mega-app WeChat, has made welcome changes to allow overseas (read, Australian) businesses to set up a WeChat Official Account that is visible to mainland Chinese WeChat users – opening a world of opportunity with relative ease. While WeChat Pay and APIs are not available yet, the core WeChat features are available, and it is fortunately a whole lot easier for brands to climb on board the WeChat wagon!
Getting on board with a WeChat Official Account as an Australian business is a two-part process – Registration and then Verification. Let’s shine a light on both processes with this helpful guide MultiConnexions has put together!
PART ONE: REGISTRATION
Step 1 – Select your preferred Account type from the below options via this link. It’s best to go for a Service Account.
Step 2 – Enter your preferred email address, verify it and set up the password. Check the box to indicate that you agree with the terms and conditions.
Step 3 – Select AUSTRALIA from the drop-down menu of countries. Click confirm
Step 4 – The default is ‘Service Account’. Select and continue.
Step 5 – Input your business information including registered company name, ABN, administrator name, mobile number and ID number (passport or driver’s license). You will need to verify your mobile number at this stage and it takes about 1 minute. You will receive approval confirmation in the WeChat Official Account backend. Once received, you need to verify the account within 30 days.
PART TWO: VERIFICATION
Step 1: Input the administrative details about your business including: Registered Company Name; ABN; Registered Address; Office Address; Phone Number; Scope of Business (according to your business license); Bank Account – Bank name, Accountholder Name, Account Number; and Legal Representative.
Step 2: Enter the contact person’s information including: Contact’s Full Name; Mobile Phone Number; SMS Verification Code; Email; Landline Phone Number; and contact’s ID – passport or driving license copy and number. It is fine to have the same information as you input in step 1 at this stage.
Step 3: Upload all the requisite files including: Business License; signed and stamped Official Application Letter; Mobile Phone Statement/ Bill which includes name, phone number and 3 months of payment history; and at least two forms of ID photocopies. You may wish to include landline phone bills and other supporting documents as part of the application.
Step 4: Choose a name for your WeChat Official Account. There are 3 options to choose from: Trademarked Name (which needs to be supported with your Trademark Registration Documentation), a Media Name (which requires a media license), or an Optional Vocabulary Name (which can be a creatively chosen name that is different to your trademarked name). Confirm your selection and upload the relevant supporting documentation.
Step 5: A Tencent invoice for verification fees in the amount of US$99 will be generated. This is roughly AU$150. Ensure payment is made from your business’ bank account to Tencent’s bank account and mention the exact full company name as previously indicated in your application to ensure no delays. Emailing the bank slip to Tencent will speed up the payment clearance.
Step 6: After payment is received by Tencent/WeChat, it generally takes another 1-5 working days for the Official Account to be verified. During this time, an independent verification agency may contact the admin of the Official Account to confirm information or ask for more information if needed.
And that’s all she wrote!
With the one-two punch of WeChat registration and WeChat verification, your brand will be able to harness the enormous potential for engaging with Chinese consumers on a platform they love.
At this stage, it is important to note that merely setting up a WeChat account is not a ‘silver bullet’ for nabbing droves of Chinese consumers.
It is prudent to ensure that you invest intelligently with WeChat and engage the right partner to create winning WeChat campaigns and initiatives that will not just reach your audience – but will engage and enthral them, building relationships and new brand loyalties.
This often involves deep-rooted knowledge and expertise with cultural insights, carefully crafted copy-writing, bespoke creatives and insightful strategies.
If you would like a hand with your WeChat account, give us a call and we will be happy to assist you to set up a WeChat account, develop content and manage it for you too.