WeChat to Offer Paywall Feature for Official Accounts Platform

By Ryan Gandolfo, January 17, 2020

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Most WeChat users are familiar with the app’s Official Accounts Platform, which hosts millions of subscription accounts, run by individual bloggers, news outlets, companies and government agencies, among other organizations.

WeChat announced this week that it will be testing a new feature that will allow publishers to add a paywall to their content shared on the app. South China Morning Post reported that the app’s content creators will be able to charge readers for selected original articles or all posts, with price options ranging from RMB1 to RMB208. WeChat will not receive a cut of the revenue generated during the feature’s trial period.

The paywall option will only be granted to a limited number of content creators, but it is expected that the feature will be rolled out to a wider group in the future. Notably, accounts run by media outlets, enterprises and government agencies will not be allowed to add a paywall, according to WeChat, as cited by SCMP.

It appears to be a logical step for WeChat as the Official Accounts Platform has grown into one of the most important channels for the Chinese online community to get information. The platform is accessible in each users’ messaging tab, and regularly flows to the top of users’ chat list as new subscriptions publish content throughout the day, with a large portion of content posted after people get off work.

Screengrab via WeChat

The platform was released in 2012, and will be one of a few online content platforms in the Middle Kingdom to include paid content, Technode reports. In order to access articles or accounts with a paywall, Android users can use WeChat Pay while iOS users will need to make transactions via Apple’s in-app purchase service.

With around 1.151 billion monthly active users, the monetization opportunities for WeChat’s content creators – and we’d expect WeChat, later on – seem ripe for the taking.

READ MORE: 6 Interesting Things WeChat Knows About You

[Cover image: screengrab via WeChat]

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