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How to Sell in China Through WeChat

  • WeChat (Weixin in Chinese) is the largest social media app in China. Launched in 2011, it has already grown to over a billion monthly active users, dominating the social media and messaging space in China.

    WeChat is now a go-to channel for merchants to promote their brand and sell their products in China. If you want to leverage WeChat to grow your business in China, here's your guide to getting started. 

     

    What is WeChat?

    WeChat is the largest social app in China. Think of it as a combination of Facebook, Messenger, and Paypal. The app contains three main sections that are particularly important for business owners:

    • WeChat chat interface. A chat interface similar to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
    • WeChat moments. Similar to the Facebook timeline, it is the place where users can post or access news from their friends
    • WeChat wallet. This gives users access to payment services, money transfers, flight and movie tickets, and more.

     

    By combining social media, chat, and payment features, WeChat has become a powerful promotional tool for ecommerce businesses selling in China.

    But how can you, as a brand, set up your own presence on WeChat? Here are the steps to follow, from setting up your WeChat store to marketing it to WeChat users.

    Start selling on WeChat

    You can learn more about the integration between WeChat and Shopify by visiting the WeChat sales channel page.

     

    Setting up a brand page on WeChat

    Unlike Facebook or Instagram, brand posts on WeChat do not appear on the main social timeline. Instead, they appear in WeChat’s chat interface.

    A brand page on WeChat is called a “WeChat Official Account”.

    There are two types of WeChat Official Accounts that can be used for marketing:

    1. WeChat service accounts. These accounts appear alongside “friends” for WeChat users. They are extremely visible but are limited to 4 push notifications per month.
    2. WeChat subscription accounts. These accounts can post articles daily (one push notification per day) but are less visible than service accounts. They appear in a “subscription” folder that users have to open in order to see the latest articles.

     

    Both types of accounts let you send an unlimited number of messages to any user who messages the account directly. These messages will be considered “customer service messages” and will therefore not be counted into the account quota. The customer service window lasts 48 hours from the moment the account receives the last message from that user.

    Users can then open either a service account or their subscription account folder in order to access articles published by brands.

     

    How to create a WeChat Official Account

    You can start creating a WeChat Official Account on WeChat by clicking this link and completing the following steps:

    1. Select your country.
    2. Select your account type (in the case of an overseas account, Service Account will be your only option).
    3. Submit the required materials from WeChat.
    4. Confirm your phone number via SMS verification.
    5. Pay the $99 USD verification fee to WeChat.
    6. Receive a verification call from a WeChat representative who will review and verify your application.