A problem has been plaguing companies on WeChat for years: the inability to change WeChat Official Account from one business entity to another. If you wanted to sell your account, or somehow change legal entity, you would have to create a new WeChat Official Account and start follower acquisition from scratch.
Businesses could face a huge risk, especially if they relied on third party companies to register their account.
Last week, Tencent finally allowed companies to switch WeChat Official Account ownership!
What does change WeChat Official Account mean?
- The original Official Account must be registered through a Chinese business license (either Service or Subscription account)
- The new Official Account must a verified account
- The new Official Account does not have restriction on the number of followers (updated on April 28th, Tencent taken out the “less than 1,000 followers” restriction for the new account)
- Personal Official Account can now be changed to business Official Account (updated on April 9th)
Note: International Official Account (registered with a foreign business license) can not be transferred.
7-10 business days for application
Why is this a revolutionary feature?
It solves the issue many companies face: a mismatch between their WeChat Official Account’s entity and their real business entity.
For foreign companies, this means they won’t be taking such a big risk when registering an Official Account through a third party agency and won’t risk to stay stuck with the agency forever. It’s okay to start with an agency’s license and later transfer all the followers to the new account once the company established a business entity (for instance, a WFOE).
On the other hand, this new change made it much easier to trade WeChat Official Accounts. Even though Tencent discourages this kind of trading.
A step by step guide
Go to your WeChat Official Account backend, and click on 公众号设置 on the left side menu.
- Next to Business Entity (主体信息), click on Account Transfer (账号迁移).
2. Click on the green button Transfer (迁移). The admin of the original Official Account needs to scan a QR code to approve this step.
Then enter the WeChat ID or the registration email of the new account, and click on Verification (发送验证).
The account administrator will receive a message on WeChat and he/she needs to approve the verification.
5. Download and fill out the WeChat Official Account transfer form, sign and apply company seal by both companies.
6. This might be the most tricky part of the verification. You need to go to the local Notary Public Office (公正机关) to acknowledge the account transfer form in Step 5. You can search on Google/Baidu map for Notary Public Offices (公证处) near you. This step could take 1-2 business days.
7. Enter the original Official Account’s admin cell phone number, you will get a notification. Then in the next cell, enter the new administrator’s cell phone number to get another verification number.
8. Name the new account. You can choose either the old account’s name, or pick a new name.
9. Enter the Fapiao (receipt) information
10. Make the payment of 300RMB via WeChat payment
Once the Official Account Transfer application has been submitted, it will take Tencent 1-3 business days to approve this transfer.
The actual transfer will happen over a period of 1-3 days. The original WeChat followers will get a notification about this transfer in the original account.
Here is an example of the message that is sent to all users:
The WeChat followers will automatically follow the new Official Account after the transfer. The original Official Account will be deleted after the account has been transferred.
The impact of WeChat Official Account transfers is huge. It is a transparent solution to fix the mismatch between the WeChat Official Account ownership and the true business entity. It also makes it much easier for foreign business to get started in China without taking too much risks.