WeChat: Connecting with Consumers and Employees in China

September 20, 2022
Paul Shope

WeChat? What's that? Learn about the most-used social networking app in China and how global companies can go beyond engaging with consumers to stay connected with their teams in China. 


WeChat? What’s that? Unless your company’s target audience is in China, you might think WeChat is insignificant or even know what it is. But one of the untapped propositions of WeChat is its potential as a marketing tool for businesses - even if your company doesn’t reside in China.

What is WeChat?

Developed by Tencent in 2011, WeChat is the most popular one-stop social network and messaging app in China. As one of the top 10 social networks in the world, WeChat has over one billion monthly active users. Over the last ten years, WeChat has become the everything-app for people in China. In fact, it’s more common for people in China to ask for your WeChat ID than your phone number. If you haven’t used WeChat before, you might assume it’s just another social media platform where people chat. But it’s much more than that.

Users can send messages, pay for groceries or taxis, book a Covid-19 test, shop from their favorite brands, and even access government services like visa applications without leaving the app. With the sky as the limit, it’s easy for WeChat users to accomplish many social and transactional tasks without having to traverse different applications. 

What opportunity is there for businesses on WeChat? How do I get started?

For companies looking to establish a digital presence in China while also increasing brand and product reach, WeChat is a great tactic to consider. Over 100 countries can apply for an Official Account, even without having a Chinese Business License.

To join WeChat, companies must apply for an Official Subscription or Service Account. Subscription accounts are designed for marketing, while Service accounts are for sales and customer support. Official Accounts must be verified by WeChat and pay a $99 (USD) annual fee to be on the platform. 

Note: It may take 1-2 weeks to hear back on your application but, once you’re set-up, you will get the same access and features as registered businesses in China. 

What can you do as an Official Account on WeChat?

Once you have an Official Account, you can create content on WeChat and directly interact with and sell to your followers and customers. The only catch is that businesses cannot message customers first or reply to a customer’s message after 48 hours of receiving it.

Other ways to engage with WeChat users include:

  • Advertise on WeChat
  • Set up a WeChat store, which is essentially an ecommerce store on WeChat
  • Create content to recommend in WeChat search - a powerful AI tool that recommends similar products based on a photo a user takes
  • And more!

But the opportunities for global companies on WeChat go beyond engaging with consumers. There’s an opportunity to engage and stay connected with their teams in China. 

Go beyond the WeChat User: Keep Connected with your Company

It can be challenging for global companies with a presence in China to stay connected when China blocks a majority of Western social media platforms and websites. Using WeChat as an Employee Experience Platform is one way to keep closer and engage your greater team.

One of our longtime clients wanted to create a China version of its company Intranet on WeChat to share company news amongst US and CN teams. With separate US and China intranet websites, and most of the China team preferring WeChat over the web, there was a challenging opportunity to segment company announcements by region while also utilizing WeChat to promote global announcements.

The client utilized ActiveDirectory for employees to log in to their Intranet, which limited users from accessing if they weren’t on the company’s network. To reduce friction for employees having to log into the Intranet to view full news articles everytime, C2 was able to utilize WeChat creds and bridge them with their employee AD credentials so that they were logged into the Intranet automatically. By using C2’s translation services, the client was able to easily translate global announcements to four different languages, including Chinese, on WeChat.

As a result, the client has seen higher engagement of global news and announcements from the China team - creating more cohesive and engaging Intranet experiences for its team worldwide. Utilizing WeChat goes beyond just engaging with the customer, it’s an opportunity to re-engage worldwide teams in a way that fits their existing lifestyle.

Considering WeChat as part of your business plan to connect with customers or employees? Get in touch with us! C2 can help you explore strategies for using WeChat and integrate existing technology with one of the biggest channels in China.