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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to WeChat for Business

Dragon Social > Marketing in China  > The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to WeChat for Business
Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Wechat for Business

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to WeChat for Business

Let’s start with an amazing fact. A country with 1.3 billion people has no access to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Meanwhile, more than half of them are using one online social service to chat with friends, make voice and video calls, play games, split lunch bills, make online payments, and even get Lucky Money during Chinese New Year.


Wechat for business Dragon Social

Almost every Chinese uses WeChat.


This is no joke. WeChat is spreading at rocket speed in China. With 41% of the total population of China logging into WeChat every day and use various functions for daily tasks. WeChat is taking over China in both social and commercial aspects. It has grown into the largest and the most influential social network in China. So how can you use WeChat for business?


Let’s begin with finding out which type of WeChat account matches with your needs and goals.


Which WeChat account fits you best?


WeChat is an essential and outstanding marketing tool for business to enter the Chinese market. Setting up a WeChat official account allows brands to reach out a wide base of the target audience and raise brand awareness in an effective way. The official accounts are available to media, government organizations and businesses. Let’s look at three types of WeChat business account: subscription accounts, service accounts, and enterprise accounts.



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1. Subscription Accounts (订阅号)


WeChat subscription accounts focus on information and brand communication. They are used much like a daily news feed. They can publish message once a day to subscribers and publish 1-6 articles each time. All updates are sent to the users’ subscription folder with no push notifications.


Subscription accounts are the only type of official account that is open to individuals, such as bloggers and celebrities. Subscription accounts are most suitable for individuals and brands that are content based or information-oriented.


How to use WeChat for business: Subscription Accounts




2. Service Accounts (服务号)


WeChat service accounts focus on customer service and CRM. They offer more robust functionality. The verified service accounts can register for WeChat Pay and set up a WeChat Store. After verification, service accounts have access to 9 advanced APIs that enable the brands to create additional apps and functions such as Instant Customer Service app and GPS app.


Service accounts can publish up to 4 times per month, with 1-6 articles each time. When the posts are published, the updates appear as push notifications in followers’ chat lists. Comparing to subscription accounts, the posting frequency of service accounts is lower.


Service accounts are the best choice for businesses with a wide base of the audience or with large customer databases, such as airlines and hotels.


How to use WeChat for business: Service Accounts



3. Corporate Accounts (企业号)


While subscription accounts and service accounts target at external markets, WeChat corporate accounts are primarily for internal communication and management. They are not available to the public nor marketers. Users of corporate accounts must be verified internal staff in order to follow the corporate account.


With third-party APIs, corporate accounts have multiple internal management functions, such as internal chat room and resource sharing. Corporate accounts have high visibility and high security as users have to follow the account and then be added manually by the account owner entering their name, phone number and WeChat id.


Latest update (10/2/2018)


According to the latest post by WeChat admin team, the maximum number of official accounts by an individual will reduce from 5 to 2 now. For corporate and organizations, the limit is reduced to 5, comparing the maximum of 50 in the past.


It is extremely important to stay up to date with the regulations of WeChat. Our Dragon Social team will keep track of any changes. If you have any questions, welcome to contact us!


How to set up a WeChat business account?


Digital Marketing in China- WeChat -min


To register a WeChat official account for most businesses in China, you will need the following:


  • Chinese Business License obtained by a local company or WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise)
  • Chinese ID of a Chinese National with a WeChat payment account


However, there are two alternatives for your business to register a WeChat account if you don’t have a Chinese Business License.


Option 1: Register a company in China


After setting up the company, then you’ll have the business license to register an account. However, this approach is not recommended as it has high money cost and time cost (usually takes at least 6 months).


Option 2: Use a third-party business license


You can use the business license from another Chinese legal entity as a tool. Each Chinese company can register up to 50 WeChat accounts. These third parties can create an account for you with approximately USD$500 maintenance fee per year. Although the account will be attached to the Chinese legal entity, you can still decide on the details of your account, such as name, logo, and description. 


Updates on 10/2/2018: Currently for each company, the limit of WeChat official accounts is reduced from 50 to 5. However, if your company is from the following countries or regions: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan or South Korea, you can now register on your own. The process will be faster and cheaper comparing to other international countries.


Get company wechat official account


Updates in 2017: WeChat allows people to transfer official accounts now, which means you can transfer your account from a third party business to your own company later (when you create a local company in China). It normally takes 2 weeks for us to create a WeChat official account for you. Talk to our Chinese marketing expert now.


How to use WeChat for Business from a marketing viewpoint?


With approximately 846 million monthly active users, WeChat is a powerful marketing tool in China. WeChat marketing offers a powerful way to connect with customers, build a database and collect feedback. So, if you don’t take advantage of WeChat, that’ll be a huge miss.


1. QR codes


WeChat automatically creates a QR code for each official account, along with an inbuilt QR code scanner. You can also customize and personalize the QR codes that match your branding perfectly. These codes can be posted on all marketing channels, such as social media, packaging or even your brick-and-mortar store. This is a great way to entice customers by offering different discounts, promotions or free WiFi access. With one scan away, you can boost both sales and followers.


The discount chain store EMart in Korea built a huge 3-D sculpture, showing a hidden QR code. With a quick scan of the code, it brought the WeChat users to the EMart’s official account, increasing sales and followers.


How to use WeChat for business: QR code

Image via WeChat


China QR code Dragon Social



2. Create valuable and emotionally appealing content


A good WeChat article should be informative and consistently good. According to recent research, 49% of the WeChat users would share the article on WeChat if they believe it’s useful. People can get bored easily and you need to create content that is interesting and educational in order to stand out and draw traffic.


A research shows that video is booming lately on social networks. GIFs and videos are compelling visuals that can support your storytelling, especially for industries like fashion and beauty, food and beverage.


How to use WeChat for business: WeChat report



3. Location-based marketing


WeChat can detect user location, enabling brands to target potential customers in the same city. This function also comes along with the features like “Shake”, “Look Around” and “Drift Bottle”. This feature covers more than 300 cities and 2,500 counties nationwide. Leveraging WeChat followers’ location information can be beneficial for online and offline businesses.


DiDiDaChe, a taxi hailing plus personal transport app. It uses WeChat to access the user location while the user can track the driver’s distance from the pickup address.


How to use WeChat for business: Dididache

Image via Didi



4. Launch diverse campaigns


Campaigns are great ways to encourage customer engagement. Brands can launch campaigns in creative ways, such as voting, games, and quizzes. To motivate the audience and encourage participation, it’s good to provide attractive incentives, such as discounts and gifts. Remember, creative campaigns can always attract followers to your accounts.


Coach, for instance, ran a campaign called “#MyFirstCoach” in 2015 to celebrate Mother’s Day. WeChat users, who uploaded a photo of themselves and their mothers, could have a chance to be featured on Coach’s homepage and win a Coach wristlet.


How to use WeChat for business: Coach WeChat



5. WeChat KOL promotions


WeChat KOLs (key opinion leaders) are popular accounts that already have a large number of subscribers. Brands can search KOLs on WeChat or through marketing agencies. The cooperation model usually requires you to prepare or confirm the content with KOLs who then publish it on their WeChat accounts to promote your brand. These posts are usually sponsored by brands but the price can vary widely depending on their number of followers or average page views.


Is KOL marketing worth the money in China?


If you are interested in this topic, check out our Chinese KOL promotion blog post.


6. WeChat Advertising


WeChat advertising is an excellent platform to boost followers in the early stages. You need to create a fair amount of content before launching the advertising campaign. WeChat provides two advertising alternatives for verified accounts: Moments Ads and Account Ads.


  • Moments Ads: The advertisement is shown in the Moments feed. The lowest budget for a Moment Ad is $50,000 RMB (approximately $7,500 USD). But the price can vary depending on the cities and target audience group.


How to use WeChat for business: Moment Ads

Image via CyberOne


  • Account Ads: This is a flexible and cost-effective approach. You can target a specific group of audience. The advertisement is shown at the bottom of the articles of famous WeChat accounts with high subscription rate and view rate.


How to use WeChat for business: Account Ads

Image via CyberOne


For more information, please read our WeChat Advertising 101 Guide.


Conclusion: How  to Use WeChat for Business


WeChat is more than a social networking app. WeChat is an ideal platform to fill the gap between online and offline marketing and is a great way to connect with customers and build greater brand awareness. Don’t miss out this huge opportunity if you want to enter the Chinese market!


So Who Are We?


Dragon Social is a leading digital marketing agency that specializes in companies who want to enter China. Digital marketing can be very different in China as the platforms are very different from other countries.


Many companies outsource their marketing because they understand that they do not have the knowledge. WeChat is a complex platform that can be difficult to navigate, especially for smaller or medium-sized companies.


Dragon Social can create and customize a specific digital marketing plan that will amplify your business and take the stress of moving into a new country away from you. If you would like to find out more visit our packages page!


Rebecca Ling
Rebecca Ling

Rebecca is studying Master of PR and Advertising at University of New South Wales. She has a couple of years of hands-on experience in digital marketing. As a passionate marketer, she always sticks close to the latest marketing trends and shares her thoughts on different platforms. With strong passion for writing, she also creates contents for her food and sports social media accounts regularly.

  • David Lesprit
    Posted at 7:53 pm, July 25, 2017

    Hi, you wrote ”Each Chinese company can register up to 50 WeChat accounts”…….does this mean a chinese company can register a Service Account and a Subscription Account?

    • Raymond Lam
      Posted at 4:11 pm, July 26, 2017

      Hi David,

      Yes, you are right. A Chinese company can register both a Service Account and Subscription Account. In most cases, companies choose between one of these accounts. However, some companies in China register a Service account as a CRM and Online Shop to establish an engaged fan base, and a Subscription account to push more content.

    • Anthony De Gennaro
      Posted at 10:59 am, October 10, 2017

      Hi David,

      Yes that is correct!

  • May
    Posted at 11:44 pm, September 5, 2017

    Hi, I would like to know if our business in USA, how can I set up Service Account and Subscription Account?

    • Raymond Lam
      Posted at 3:36 pm, September 7, 2017

      Hi May,

      You can either register through your own business registration license in the state or use a third party Chinese business license (like Dragon Social). Both methods will require you to deal with Tencent and incur a different fee. You can contact our sales team and we can help you with that.

  • Mark Leggett
    Posted at 11:25 am, October 4, 2017

    Hi. I’ve used WeChat in China for business projects and have connected to the business platform through subscriptions very successfully. I’ve even used the subscription format from New Zealand back to a Chinese business as a test case, which worked fine.

    My question is: (How) Could a WeChat business account be set up to deliver / support services being delivered only in New Zealand for a NZ company and NZ clients? I’m thinking that there are some opportunities for the powerful WeChat application and platform to add real value to client support here, with a focus on the service industry.

    This question is not related to Chinese business or the Chinese market in any way, so I may be on the wrong track.

    • Anthony De Gennaro
      Posted at 11:02 am, October 10, 2017

      Hi Mark,

      I’m sure there are plenty of ways that it could be used, but the main issue would be getting your New Zealand clients to actually download and make use of the services you are offering through the app. WeChat is incredibly powerful not only because of its functionality but its near universal usage in China. If you had enough communication with your clients and a strong enough relationship to encourage them to use the app, it could certainly work, but it would depend heavily on your relationship with your clients and what you’re able to offer them.

  • Barry R Meikle
    Posted at 5:05 pm, November 8, 2017

    Hi…. I can operate a computer and understand how they work but I am not confident in setting up programs like ” We Chat”. Can you recommend a company or people I can speak to regarding getting help to set up We Chat

  • silky
    Posted at 9:03 pm, January 29, 2018

    Hi ,

    We are not a Chinese nationals nor having our business in China but found your blog to be very informative and shareable.

    we DMIOA, an Institution based on Digital Marketing know the power of Social media advertising so, if you need to know more or if you want recommend our blog, based on other social media channels then we will appreciate it.

  • Rachel
    Posted at 3:36 pm, June 19, 2018

    I am from Singapore. You mentioned we can register a WeChat account through our own business registration license in our own country, and to deal with Tencent and incur a different fee. Can we know the estimated fee?

  • KH
    Posted at 12:12 am, June 27, 2018

    Hi Rebecca,
    It looks like the download PDF function of your blog is only returning errors and failing on valid email addresses.

  • Posted at 2:19 pm, July 16, 2018

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before ending I am reading this enormous post to improve my knowledge.

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