WeChat suspends new user registrations

Tencent’s popular super app WeChat said Tuesday it has temporarily suspended new user registrations, attributing the decision to “related laws and regulations.” 

Why it matters: This is the first time Tencent has suspended new user registration for the ubiquitous app in China, which many people rely on for communication and other life services such as paying utility bills and shopping online. 

  • The action comes as China accelerates scrutiny on tech companies’ anticompetitive behavior and their data security practices.

Details: WeChat said in a Tuesday social media post (in Chinese) that the app is not accepting new individual users and public accounts to comply with “related laws and regulations.” The company calls the suspension a “technical security upgrade.”

  • The company said it expects the upgrade to be completed by early August. 
  • A WeChat spokesperson declined to comment when reached by TechNode. 

Context: Earlier this month, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) banned ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing from registering new users while launching a cybersecurity review into ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing. 

  • The CAC in the same month announced similar cybersecurity investigations into three other companies, job recruitment platform Boss ZhiPin, transport companies Huo Chebang and Yun Manman, and asked them to stop registering new users.
  • WeChat is China’s most-used instant messaging app. In 2020, the app had more than 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide.

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