It might have some voice out there it’s time to leave China market, particularly for global manufacturers due to very heavy China business tax and much cheaper labor, materials cost in other SEA, but I am inclined to believe that sale figures from China trading and Tmall eCommerce etc can demonstrate the reality and direct us the next step and the trend in months to come are still positive, China market still plays more important role in global economics, and also as Chinese people outbound consumption such as oversea travel, insurance, property purchase, investment etc are continuously booming, business revenue from both of Chinese mainland and cross boarder continue to act like a skyrocket.

WeChat vs Facebook

Unfortunately, many oversea companies seem still lack of knowledge to make the most of powerful coms platform – Wechat to connect with Chinese TA and monetise the content and recruited Wechat fans through proper communication strategy and approaches, although most of them are excited in F8 new releases 2017 and only roll out FB social mindset and understanding to Wechat to target no matter China mainland or cross boarder audience. I will say it might be similar, but in fact execution on the ground doesn’t work off.

So I come up with a thought to write this article and aim to figure out 6 misunderstandings on the market, and hopefully it can help you in China and out of China, who will do or have already been selling service or products to Chinese consumers, correctly know Wechat opportunities.

ONLY Chinese citizens can activate Wechat personal wallet? NO

WeChat wallet

Open my Wechat wallet QR code that can be scanned or I can scan merchant’s QR code to pay bills in restaurant, supermarket, or pay money to friends after meal is a must-have part in China nowadays. Here is a saying “You don’t need cash when in China, Wechat can help you sort all out. If you don’t have Wechat wallet, you might be kicked out of the door.”

Foreigners are thrilled and surprised to well nurtured and educated user behaviour, however they can’t find Wechat wallet when they want to try the experience from Wechat downloaded out of China country (We call this is Wechat version, and bascially the one Chinese use called Weixin version is only available within China currently).

If you had come across the issue, one straight and quick way is to ask your Chinese Wechat friend sending you a redpocket. After you open the pocket, Wechat interface has a pop-up window requesting you to fill in credit card and passport information to bundle Wechat payment, then you can start your easy and friendly payment life.

WeChat redpocket

The other way is to create a real name verified mobile number. When you use the verified mobile phone number to sign up Wechat new ID, your wechat has the wallet function by default.

ONLY having Chinese business registration company can create verified Wechat service account? NO

Due to China business scale or company business tax consideration, many foreign SME companies might have only Hong Kong business registration instead of China one. And using an oversea or HK BR might have lots of function limitation in Wechat operation level, such as advertising, content blast, API etc.

So if you were under this situation, you might have to create Wechat account via an agent, However, please be careful because the agent might use one mainland China company BR to help you create a service account.

I’m not saying this is not reliable, but you need to pay attention to the mainland company business scope in BR if it has included your business nature or not, otherwise you might have invested money but your account is not permitted to activate many Wechat functions, or might pay higher transaction serving fees when your Wechat has been applied to use Wechat payment.

ONLY difference between Wechat subscribed and service account is the limited content feed amount? NO

I do agree that what type of Wechat account you should create and make the most of is supposed based on business digital channel and communication strategy, however I bet on many SME companies even don’t know the difference between subscribed and service account. Probably they might clearly know Wechat subscribed account is permitted to feed a message to fans everyday, meanwhile Wechat service account is only permitted to blast and feed to fans conversation interface only once a week and at most 4 times a month.

Except for it just above, in fact, there’re 5 key differences in terms of given functions.

Placement

WeChat placement

A post feed from a service account just above a screenshot comes up individually on Wechat message interface and it has a red point on right top of icon to notify fans when it comes up a new blast.

WeChat subscription account

On the other hand, a subscribed account new daily feed can be only placed under a default group. Wechat users have to open the group to check out all new feeds from different accounts in the same page, thus the user experience might be affect with a longer journey.

Notification

You can enable your service account to send users message notification in Wechat after users complete a payment and receive payment info or even an e-Invoice, login your membership account, book the hotel room, flight ticket etc. However, currently the subscribed account doesn’t have this function. So, if your backend big data mining, 1st party data library and CRM are critical to your China business, a Wechat service account is your primary option.

Mobile Content Page Module

WeChat landing page

For your weekly article feed blasting, the service account provides you a mobile page template to collect and categorise all your existing articles to show your TA in a mobile page, which looks like a blog.

Except it’s an easy and friendly way to communicate with TA for brand awareness and nurture, it’s also a way to increase Wechat fans and service account traffic via Wechat SEO, it’s also called Wechat SMO here.

Users not only can search information, content, brand accounts from Wechat engine, they can also search just above information from Sogou, which is the 3rd engine in China and is under Tencent group now.

Subscribed account might have the quantity advantage in terms of TA communication and SMO, however the service account can deliver higher quality in terms of SMO articles indexing and users experiences.

Content management

You can claim your weekly newsfeed blasting is the original version and you own the copy right in service account, which you can’t do in the subscribed account. This approach further benefits your SMO execution and make articles indexed higher ranking efficiently.

Also, the service account allows you manage all your fans comments in Wechat articles. For example, you can only approve the positive ones or approve all but reply with optimised keywords to enhance users interaction and SMO performance.

Advanced API

No matter API token and advanced capability, the service account is better than subscribed account. If you like to work with a 3rd party developer and operation platform to manage fans profile, lifevalue etc, activate interactive game, implement advanced CRM functions, I’ll suggest you think of service account primarily.

ONLY service account owner can create Wechat payment? NO

WeChat payment

As a merchant no matter you are in China, at HK or oversea, you can apply for merchant Wechat payment.

(This is an oversea page sample for your reference, you can contact Wechat payment global service team for more details)

https://pay.weixin.qq.com/index.php/public/wechatpay

By this way, you might not have to create a Wechat service account, while it’s allowed to receive payment from Wechat users. Few oversea countries have been popular already such as Japan, Korea etc to appeal Chinese travelers, you might often see Wechat payment icon in pharmacy, supermarket, restaurant etc out there.

There’re some special cases that verified subscribed account can have Wechat payment such as Bank, insurance, airline etc. But basically it’s only open to service account owners.

ONLY Advertising content matters in ads censorship? NO

WeChat censorship

Porn, illegal information, damaging society and community content etc are not allowed in both Wechat moment advertising and public account ads network. But also moment ads is more strict and it also deals with your business registration scope. As I mentioned, please be careful when you create Wechat account.

Wechat auto reply functions can be carried out ONLY by Wechat robot? NO

WeChat robot

Wechat robot set-up needs much sources, like it needs to work with the developer platform, sufficient information and time for robots to learn, robots performance optimisation etc. If you ask me, I’ll suggest to implement robots rather than auto reply, although set up cost might be higher, particularly for those company have high daily traffic volume on FAQ.

However, before you make a decision, you could firstly set up Wechat keywords auto reply to know more insight from wechat users. The methodology is similar with keyword search in search engine. Setting up a list of keywords under different message reply groups. When users type in related keywords as the questions in Wechat account, message reply will be automatically executed. Also, message formate can be varied, text, text + image, voice etc.

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By Louis Lu

Growth Hacker & Digital Marketer, with a proven record of over 11 years experience in 20+ Asian markets, and 25,000+ connections in Linkedin

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