Tencent Rebrands WeChat Work App to WeCom Ahead of Trump Ban

Chinese language tech large Tencent has modified the identify of its WeChat Work workplace collaboration app to WeCom, setting it up as a possible different to its messaging app WeChat forward of a US ban.

Tencent, registered the WeCom trademark on August 19, in keeping with america Patent and Trademark Workplace.

Two Tencent sources stated WeCom doesn’t fall below the scope of a ban on WeChat-related transactions in america from September 20, one in all a sequence of US measures cracking down on Chinese language tech corporations and apps that Washington says are threats to nationwide safety.

Tencent declined to remark.

WeChat is an all-in-one cell app that mixes messaging, social media, cost features and different companies. Its so-called tremendous app is all however important for day by day life in China and boasts greater than a billion customers.

In america, WeChat is broadly utilized by Chinese language expats and others to speak with mates and associates in China. It has a median of 19 million day by day energetic customers in america, in keeping with analytics agency Apptopia.

After downloading WeCom, customers can now hyperlink their WeChat account to it and add their WeChat contacts, a Reuters check confirmed. WeCom customers can then message, create discussion groups, and even obtain digital cash from WeChat mates with out their WeChat contacts having to obtain WeCom.

There was no indication that Tencent has actively promoted WeCom in america. There has additionally been no surge in downloads of WeCom in latest weeks, in keeping with Sensor Tower.

WeCom workaround

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is about to launch laws by Sunday clarifying which WeChat transactions can be prohibited below President Donald Trump’s government order.

On Thursday, the US Justice Division stated Ross didn’t plan to focus on individuals or teams who solely obtain or use WeChat to convey private or enterprise info.

Tencent employees in america have traditionally used WeChat Work to speak with the corporate’s headquarters in Shenzhen. Tencent has at the very least 250 US-based workers.

Trump’s August 6 announcement of the ban on transactions associated to WeChat prompted a spike in downloads of WeChat and different apps by US residents. A gaggle of WeChat customers has additionally sued to dam the ban.

The WeCom cell app has been gaining recognition in China, the place downloads within the first a part of September rose 74 % from about 690,000 through the first 16 days of August. Downloads have been 158 % larger than the identical interval a 12 months in the past.

However the app has gained little traction in america. New US installs up to now in September stand at about 3,000, unchanged from the identical interval in August and up from 1,000 through the first a part of September final 12 months.

Nina Wei, a Chinese language entrepreneur in Seattle, stated she used WeCom principally to attach with enterprise contacts in China however hadn’t used it a lot just lately as plenty of initiatives had fallen aside amid deteriorating Sino-US relations.

She was unaware that WeCom was a possible workaround.

“I have not related my WeCom to my WeChat but as I hoped to maintain my work life and personal life separate.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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