WeChat Business accounts and how to use them

Panna Kemenes
24.11.22
4 minute read

WeChat is the top messaging app in China – with an incredible 1.3 billion monthly users (as of Q2 2022).¹

It’s popular with businesses operating in China. They can open WeChat Business accounts for marketing, communication, and for receiving payments.

Western companies may be less familiar with WeChat. An understanding of the types of WeChat business accounts helps. However, it remains difficult to use for many companies outside of China.

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WeChat Business account overview

Merchant fee
  • 0.6% transaction fee for each payment received
Joining requirement
  • Companies will need to verify business identity and licence.
  • Users will need a debit or credit card issued in China's Mainland.
Trustpilot rating²
  • 1.9 out of 5
Great for:
  • Businesses dealing extensively with customers in China.
  • Businesses wanting to offer marketing and sales directly in China.

WeChat Business account options

There are several different types of WeChat account that businesses can open. The three main options are the Service Account, Mini Program, and WeChat Work.

Bear in mind these are sometimes referred to with different names.

There is a fourth option available as well. Subscriptions Accounts allow marketing and publication, but not sales. They are typically used by media, government agencies, individuals, and bloggers.

Service Account

  • The Service account is designed for businesses that want to market products and services in China.
  • It offers full sales, payment, and customer service support.
  • It includes WeChat Pay and WeChat Stores to support sales.
  • Companies can publish posts to users at a lower frequency of 4 times per month. Each post can include one to six articles. These will appear in follower’s lists as push notifications.
  • The account offers chat functions, passive reply messages and customer service messages.

Mini Program

  • The Mini Program is a new concept and allows businesses to create their own apps.
  • These apps are then accessible to users through the WeChat platform.
  • Hosting with WeChat has advantages in customer reach and technical operation. There is no need for users to download a new app.
  • For example, a transportation company may create an Uber-style app.
  • It’s sometimes best combined with another account, to expand marketing. It does not have to be, however.
  • It may be relatively new, but the concept is proving popular. 400 million users per day use Mini Programs through WeChat.³

WeChat Work

  • WeChat Work is designed for enterprise-level office management and communication.
  • It provides the communication and other tools of WeChat, but for internal company use.
  • It is also known as WeChat Enterprise Account.

Subscription Account

  • There is a fourth option of Subscription Account. This is designed for companies that focus on content marketing.
  • It allows more frequent post publication than a Service Account. Subscription Accounts can publish once a day (up to six articles each time).
  • Post updates are sent to the user's subscription folders. Users do not receive push notifications.
  • With this functionality, it is less likely to be of interest to sales related businesses.
  • Accounts are popular with content focussed users. These include media companies, organizations, bloggers, and other individual users.

Which WeChat Business account is best?

As you would expect, the choice of account depends on your business and your aims of using WeChat. In particular, the choice is about customer engagement and sales ability.

For organizations that just want to focus on marketing and communications, a Subscription Account may be the right choice. This allows the most publication and broadcasting, but without sales functionality.

To make sales and manage customer engagement, a Service Account can be the best choice. This also means less post publications, but has the advantage of offering push notifications.

How to open a WeChat Business account

Each of the four different account types has a different registration method. They can all be accessed from the main registration page.

The registration process is largely the same now for Chinese and foreign businesses. There used to be different processes, and more restrictions for overseas companies. You will likely find that some parts of the registration process are in English, while others are only in Chinese. Google Translate works well here, though, or you may find a Chinese speaker useful.

Each account type requires some different information, but much is the same. This is all input online, and then reviewed for approval. Acceptance will not be instant.

To be verified, all companies must supply business license details. WeChat will review the legitimacy of each business applying. This is much simpler if you have a Chinese-registered company, but a foreign business license can also be used.

How to use WeChat for business

Market and sell your services through WeChat

Once your WeChat account is set up and verified, you can start marketing and selling (with a Service Account). A verified account from a foreign business has access to the same marketing, advertising and selling tools as a domestic Chinese business.

Communication and post publishing is a key part of marketing on WeChat. There is a wealth of guidelines on what to consider here. Selecting the right topics that engage your audience is key. Visuals, post length, timing, and sharing are important as well.

WeChat also provides other useful marketing methods. These include:

  • Several paid advertising and promotion options.
  • WeChat Scan offers QR code scanning on websites, or physical locations, to quickly link to your offering.
  • Mini Programs allows creative development of your own apps within WeChat.

Receive payments directly with WeChat Pay

Service Accounts can receive payments through WeChat. The most popular way to do this is using WeChat Pay. This is important in China, where mobile payments are growing rapidly.⁴

AliPay and WeChat Pay dominate this market (with 55.6% and 38.8% market shares respectively).⁵

With a Service Account, businesses can easily add WeChat Pay functionality. WeChat users can make simple one click payments through WeChat Pay.

However, WeChat Pay has its limitations. It is only available for users with accounts in mainland China and select other countries or regions (currently Malaysia, South Africa, and Hong Kong).

Maintain excellent customer service

A Service Account also offers features for providing customer support. Managing this quickly and easily will help ensure repeat customers. Customers can find products and services, make purchases, and deal with after sales communications all in the same platform.

Customer services features include live chat, automated replies, prioritization tools, and feedback surveys.

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WeChat business accounts are useful for companies with a debit or credit card issued in China's Mainland. The business accounts can be used to market and sell in China, as well as handle sales, payments, and customer support.

WeChat Pay has its limitations, and can be difficult and expensive for overseas companies. You can send money with WeChat in the US, but it cannot be used to make international money transfers.⁶

For any business that needs to send payments to China, Wise Business is a good option.

With a Wise account, you can send funds to China in CNY or USD with ease. This is offered with low, transparent fees and the real mid-market exchange rate.

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Sources:

  1. WeChat: active users worldwide 2022 | Statista
  2. Read Customer Service Reviews of wechat.com
  3. What is WeChat? Intro to WeChat Marketing for Business
  4. China's Mobile Payment Adoption Beats All Others | Statista
  5. China: main players in third-party online payment 2020 | Statista
  6. WeChat pay help pages

All sources checked November 24, 2022.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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