They had been announced for a few months already, and here they are: WeChat just opened a third category of public accounts (on top of subscription and service accounts): enterprise accounts (企业号).
What are Enterprise accounts?
Enterprise accounts are meant for the internal management of a company’s operations through WeChat. As such, they have high visibility, high security and more possibilities than traditional WeChat accounts
What are the new functions?
Enterprise accounts are similar to service accounts in some respects with some specificities:
- Same visiblity as service accounts (like a WeChat friend)
- Can create many “sub-accounts” for different tasks, which enables to better structure information which is sent.
- Unlimited number of messages can be sent
- Can be used to send all kind of documents (PDF, Word, etc…)
- Each sub- account can use the “menu” function
- Higher level of security (users have to follow the account, and then be added manually by the account owner writing down their name, phone number and WeChat id). Account owner has to scan a QR code each time he logs in on top of writing down his user name of password. Data is encrypted.
How to use them?
WeChat enterprise accounts are obviously meant for developers: they are not nearly as intuitive to use as the Subscription and Service accounts and most of their potential is unlocked when entering “developer mode” (that is to say that you have to write down your own interface rather than using the one provided by Tencent).
In a day when a lot of companies are using WeChat for communication (through groups for instance) WeChat company accounts can be game-changing: they will enable users to upload and share data in a way which is both safer and more structured.
How to apply for an enterprise account?
In order to apply for an enterprise account, go to https://mp.weixin.qq.com and pick “企业号“ when selecting the account type. You will be required to input your company’s business license number (WOFE or local company).
Tencent, Salesforce and the rest
By starting developing enterprise accounts, Tencent is stepping in a new territory: management of enterprises’ internal operations.
The move is relevant to the extent that Salesforce has been sometimes sluggish in getting traction in the Chinese market. Salesforce is indeed mostly meant for international companies aiming at integrating their sales data, forecast and process. However, they quickly realized that salespeople in China often struggle with the English requirements and interface of the platform, and with its sometimes un-intuitive experience for Chinese users.
There is therefore space for a Chinese equivalent of Salesforce, but a lot of companies have been trying to seize this opportunity ahead of Tencent. Some of them are already branding themselves “WeChat for companies”.
Enterprise accounts actually do not present a major threat for these companies: at present state, they will require a lot of customization by third tier developers (or directly by WeChat for the biggest companies) in order to become efficient tools for running businesses. It is likely that many will still opt for the turnkey solutions from existing providers.
But one thing is sure: these accounts represent another relevant more from Tencent in order to diversify its activities and might be another successful move on the way of monetization.
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