China Immigration Rejects WeChat Border-Cross Scheme

By Bailey Hu, June 13, 2018

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We previously reported that, according to Reuters, Tencent had announced plans for a ‘scan-WeChat-to-cross-border’ program that would ease passage between Hong Kong and mainland China, replacing travel documents for citizens of both with face and code scans.

Last Wednesday, at least one other major media outlet also reported that while there was no official timeline given for rollout, the tech titan was working with Chinese authorities to make it happen.

Apparently, those authorities didn’t include China’s State Immigration Administration, which yesterday released a statement that Tencent had not contacted them about cooperation on such a program.

Besides stating that all related news reports were ‘false,’ it also reaffirmed that Hong Kong, Macau and mainland Chinese citizens must still apply for and use special entry permits to cross the borders in accordance with 'one country two systems' regulations as well as Chinese law.


The official statement, as reposted by a Beijing government bureau

At publication time, a Tencent staff member declined to comment to That's.

They did, however, refer us to an article published on the company's official Financial Technology account three days ago.

The post covers last Wednesday's Greater Bay Area Fintech Forum, at which Tencent VP Lai Zhiming declared the goal of "allowing people to use only one phone to travel freely between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau."

The report also says that "Tencent E-card [border-cross program] is currently obtaining various parties’ supervision and support to use the Greater Bay Area as a testing site" to combine Chinese national ID cards and special travel permits for the three regions.

According to the article, Tencent is in "close correspondence" with "supervising departments," but has yet to receive full support for its idea. No further details were provided about which departments, or whether they belonged to mainland or Hong Kong administrations.

Whether or not the company gets full government backing for its latest idea, its presence in China's public sector will likely continue to grow. Not only can users register for divorce via app, but the company is also running a pilot plan for Guangdong residents to link ID cards and drivers licenses with their WeChat accounts.

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