WeiXin is a Chinese instant messaging application launched by Tencent in January 2011. In April 2012, it launched an international version of WeiXin to promote the app to the rest of the world, WeChat. Users outside mainland China can download this newer version of WeChat.
Today, WeChat is not only an instant messaging tool but also a multifunctional application. In addition to the essential functions like sending messages and making video calls, you can also use WeChat in your daily life. For instance, users can transfer money, order food delivery, book hotel and flight tickets, book taxis, play games, open online stores, and browse news articles on WeChat. Over time, WeChat seems to have covered every aspect of a person’s day-to-day activities.
DataReportal’s Digital 2022 Report pointed out that the number of active users of WeiXin and WeChat worldwide has reached 1.263 billion. In Mainland China, with a population of 1.4 billion, 77% of internet users use WeiXin, ranking first as the most used app, followed by the second-ranked social platform, Weibo, with 47.1% of internet users using the app. We can see that WeChat is an instant messaging app and a comprehensive social platform. Additionally, the WeChat User Report 2020 pointed out that 83% of corporate users are satisfied with using WeChat to conduct business, and 34% of corporate users say that using WeChat helps them reduce their operating costs by more than 30%.
You can always find one major and popular instant messaging platform in every city — Hong Kong using WhatsApp, Taiwan using LINE, and China using WeiXin.
Overall, there is solid evidence that businesses must have a WeChat account to enter the enormous China market. Companies and merchants realize plenty of business opportunities in China and have stationed themselves on WeChat to conduct business activities. WeChat then launched WeChat Official Accounts and WeChat Mini Programs to help companies reach customers.
Do you wish to handle WeChat customer service issues better as a business? Do try imBee’s one-stop customer communication software now!
Differences Between WeiXin and WeChat
WeiXin Official Account (Mainland Version) and WeChat Official Account (Overseas Version) face two different markets. Before 2019, Tencent did not connect these two platforms. However, after 2019, the Mainland and Overseas versions of the WeChat Public Accounts are linked.
Both Mainland WeiXin users and Overseas WeChat users can receive information from these WeChat Official Accounts. Moreover, merchants in Hong Kong can now use Business Registration (BR) certificates to apply for a WeChat Public Account. Therefore, firms in Hong Kong and other countries can easily enter Chinese marketing through the WeChat platform.
However, in terms of app functionalities, there are still many differences between the two.
For instance, even though the Service Accounts for both Mainland the Overseas version are connected, WeChat users or overseas companies still cannot apply for Subscription Account, WeCom, and Mini Program. These three WeChat Public Platforms are currently only available in Mainland China. Overseas users can only apply for a Service Account. For more information on the types of WeChat Accounts, please refer to the below section.
In addition, the payment functions in WeiXin and WeChat are also different. WeiXin Pay uses Renminbi (RMB) as the transaction currency, but WeChat Pay uses the region’s local currency. For example, WeChat Pay Hong Kong uses the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) as the transaction currency.
4 Types of WeChat Official Account
There are Four types of WeChat Public Platform — (1) Subscription Account, (2) Service Account, (3) WeCom, and (4) Mini Program.
WeChat Subscription Account and WeChat Service Account are similar to a Facebook Fan Page, which promotes the brand and stores information. A detailed explanation of the difference between the two is as below.
Using a WeChat Official Account is more powerful than a personal account. For example, it can send messages in groups, manage users, analyze data, create votings, invite members, and even connect with third-party applications. It is an indispensable tool for merchants to develop successful and scalable e-commerce.
Also, WeCom and Mini Programs bring a lot of convenience to the e-commerce sector. WeCom facilitates better internal communication and more efficient collaboration within businesses. The Mini Programs embedded in WeChat can perform other functions such as conducting payments, reading, leisure and playing games.
WeChat Subscription Accounts
The purpose of a Subscription Account is mainly to deliver information to users, similar to newspapers and magazines. However, it can only send one piece of data per day. A subscription account is suitable for busy individuals or business people who prefer a summarized newsletter.
WeChat Service Accounts
A Service Account provides various services to its users and has the function of disseminating information. Companies such as banks, food delivery platforms, and ticketing platforms that carry out transactions and interact with their customers should use this Account. In addition, enterprises using this Account can only send four articles to their followers each month.
WeChat Service Account – Useful Functions
There are a lot of practical functions of Service Accounts. Some of them are listed below.
Displaying messages in the other people’s chat list
WeChat will show Service Accounts’ chatroom in the contact list, the main page when users enter WeChat. Users can visit their followed Service Account with just one click. It increases the probability of potential customers visiting your account and helps attain promotional and publicity effects.
Support WeChat Pay, WeChat card coupons, and red envelope function
Users can directly complete transactions through the WeChat Service Account. It is a convenient and fast method. Companies can also issue discounts such as WeChat coupons to attract customers, significantly reducing the loss of customers due to inconvenient payment systems.
9 advanced application programming interfaces (APIs)
The Service Account supports the following 9 types of APIs: voice recognition, customer service, OAuth2.0 web page authorization, obtaining user geographic location, accessing user information, generating a QR code with parameters, obtaining follower list, user grouping, uploading and downloading multimedia files.
The above functions help companies better understand the preferences and needs of their customers and potential clients. Customer service agents can also provide users with more convenient services, thereby increasing the customer repurchase rate.
Enterprises can customize the layout of their WeChat Service Accounts. They can design and change the Option Menus by aligning with corporate goals at different periods. Customized menus can effectively give customers important information, such as product promotions, discounts, event details, company contact, etc.
WeCom is a product used internally by an enterprise, similar to Slack. It allows members of the company to communicate instantly. Furthermore, it has essential and practical office functions since it is an IM software specially designed for companies and enterprises.
Mini Programs are “mini-applications” built within the WeChat Public Platform. WeChat allows 3rd party developers to develop Mini Programs to provide advanced features to users. Mini Programs run within the app. It is easier and faster than creating a stand-alone app.
Mini programs can also evolve into different platforms, such as WeChat mini-games, WeChat mini-stores, and many others. The program helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reduce development costs but still run the operations of their e-commerce business. Users can try these programs without installation or download, allowing them to get services more quickly and conveniently.
Subscription Accounts vs. Service Accounts
Suppose you are a news outlet or a media channel whose primary purpose is to deliver information and promotional content on a one-way basis. In that case, we recommend you choose a Subscription Account.
On the other hand, the Service Account is more suitable for enterprises and organizations to use and apply for registration. Suppose the company expects to use a WeChat Official Account to sell products, require different functions, and not publish content frequently. In that case, the Service Account will be more fitting and appropriate. Later, businesses can apply to WeChat to become a WeChat Payment Merchant so users can complete payments and transactions online.
How to create a WeChat Official Account
As a one-stop agent, imBee provides a comprehensive WeChat Official Account application service, which saves you from going through the tedious steps of the application process, and helps you enter the Chinese market with over 1.4 billion users quickly.
Currently, Overseas users or companies can only apply for WeChat Service Accounts, and there are 8 steps to apply for Overseas Service Accounts:
- Select the type of account to register
- Verify email and enter password
- Choose the business registration location
- Select the type of Official Account supported by the registration location
- Enter company-related information
- Enter administrator-related information
- Submit corporate documents
- Enter relevant details of the Official Account
Then you can submit your application and wait for the results!
imBee’s WeChat Connection Services
imBee is the world’s leading business communication software. We understand that customers will contact merchants through social media and instant messaging channels in today’s digital economy, such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and LINE. Thus, it would be very inconvenient for merchants to respond to individual customer inquiries via multiple apps.
Merchants face the huge risk of missing some customers’ information, which leads to the loss of sales and creates a negative brand image. imBee aims to help companies and merchants solve these customer service problems, handle customer questions, and market more efficiently to achieve better customer relationships and higher sales revenue over time.
Using our imBee platform, merchants can respond to customer inquiries on the WeChat Official Account (Service Account) in a unified inbox. It supports the team for multiple logins and handles customer service issues simultaneously. Businesses can set up Auto Replies in our software. This function significantly shortens the customer waiting time, reduces the workload in handling constant and repeated inquiries, provides a better customer service experience, and builds a happier team!