To register a WeChat official account for most businesses in China, you will need the following:
Chinese Business License obtained by a local company or WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise)
Chinese ID of a Chinese National with a WeChat payment account
There are 3 options available for overseas companies looking to register a WeChat Official Account
Option 1: Register a company in China
After setting up the company, you’ll have the business license required to register an official account. However, this approach is not recommended as it take a huge amount of time and money to set up a company in China.
For more information on setting up a company in China, this post by Sapore Di China lays out the procedure quite well!
Option 2: Use a third-party business license
You can use the business license from another Chinese legal entity to register an account for your company. Each Chinese company can register up to 5 WeChat Official Accounts, so companies with extra slots on their business license are often willing to sell them for extra cash. The price they charge can range from a couple hundred USD into the thousands.
This method does have its risks. Ultimately, the account is tied to the company that provides you with the service, so choosing a reliable provider is absolutely essential. Imagine purchasing an account for a few hundred dollars, investing in promoting the account, only to have it shut down or held ransom by an unreliable partner.
Although the account will be attached to the Chinese legal entity, you can still decide on the details of your account, such as name, logo, and description. The name of the account sponsor would only be found on the information page of the account.
WeChat also allows people to transfer official accounts now, which means you can transfer your account from a third party business to your own company later (if you eventually decide to open a company in China).
Option 3: Use your own international business license
WeChat faces a lot of scrutiny from the Chinese government as it controls a huge amount of user data and can easily shape public opinion through its platform. This means they must be incredibly careful with what types of people or companies can register accounts and publish content on the platform. This unique situation has led Tencent to be very strict in its approval of international companies without a Chinese business license.
As of May 3rd 2018, WeChat has begun accepting applications from all foreign countries. However, these applications are processed on a case-by-case basis, so unfortunately it’s not a certainty you’ll be able to obtain an account with your business license.
The process is quite complicated. As an example of what’s required, this is what must be provided by a Hong Kong registered company:
List of Documents Required for HK Company WeChat Official Account Registration
– Certificate of Incorporation
– Business Registration Certificate
– Annual Report (If Available)
– ID Card of Intended WeChat Operator/Admin (This should be someone who will be with the company long-term)
– Business Bank Account Number
– Letter from Bank
– Proof of Business Operation (Photos of the Shop/Screenshots of the Website)
– Company water bill or electricity bill or bank letter to prove the BR address
– Recent 3-month mobile phone bill of WeChat operator (The same person who provided the ID)
– Company shareholder information (this is to comply with the national KYC practice for anti- money-laundering)
As you can see this is quite extensive. Reviewing all of this and ensuring everything lines up properly can take quite a lot of time. If you’d like someone to handle that for you contact us and we’ll help you get started!
Number WeChat Official Accounts Per Business License Reduced from 50 to 5
As of early 2018, The WeChat admin team announced the maximum number of WeChat official accounts able to be registered by an individual had been reduced from 5 to 2. For companies and organizations, the number of WeChat official accounts per business license has also been reduced from 50 to 5.