WeChat setup page screenshot

WeChat setup page screenshot

Creating an audio newsletter to serve local Chinese communities

WeChat subscriptions and how to build your own

Throughout this article we will be referring to Chinese-speaking communities to include the broader set of communities of many dialects. We recognize that there are many languages encompassed in the term “Chinese-speaking” such as Mandarin, Wu, Min and others.

As the Chinese-speaking communities grow in the United States, they are an increasingly important community to engage and serve through our journalism. Chinese-speaking communities thrive in many small cities and towns across the country. 

For example, the Chinese speaking community is the largest community, after sole English speakers, here in Columbia, Missouri. Upon learning this, we began a project to build an audio newsletter for these communities to help them access local information and news in Chinese. 

Because of cultural differences, language barriers, and various media habits, it can be hard for local outlets to connect with the Chinese Community. Hiring Chinese-speaking reporters is always the best way to solve the challenges with connecting and covering these communities. However, even without Chinese-speaking reporters, local outlets can reach out to the Chinese community by building a WeChat account to speak directly to them. This is what we decided to do for this project. 

Why WeChat? 

For Chinese-speaking communities, WeChat is more than a messaging app; it is a tool that combines communication, shopping, and newsletters. 

WeChat is a primary information source for both young and older first-generation Chinese immigrants. According to the latest data from Tencent, there are approximately 1.3 billion active WeChat users. Even outside of China, active WeChat users are about two hundred million. There are an average of 19 million daily active users in the U.S. making it a great platform for reaching out to local Chinese communities. 

How to deliver news/information on WeChat

The WeChat subscription account is an effective way to deliver news and information to a specific group of people who sign up for it. 

Here are a couple examples of how the mobile and web pages of the WeChat subscription account appear:

WeChat subscription account mobile page
WeChat subscription account mobile page

As you can see, the WeChat subscription accounts are like newsletters. The information from the subscription accounts I follow will pop up on my WeChat daily. 

Here are some basic facts about WeChat subscription accounts 

  • A WeChat subscription account can post eight articles max per day. 
  • WeChat subscription accounts are capable of various formats including texts, photos, videos, audio and graphics. 
  • Once you post the articles to subscribers, you have one chance to revise the typos or mistakes. The typos/mistakes will then be corrected on audiences pages. 
  • The moderation in WeChat is attentive. Many offensive words are banned. 
WeChat subscription accounts are capable of posting videos
WeChat subscription accounts are capable of posting videos

How to build a WeChat subscription account 

To build a WeChat subscription account, you can start at the Tencent website. Unlike other social media platforms where you can easily create accounts without identification, WeChat has a more in-depth registration process. 

Here are two methods to create subscription accounts and required materials for each:

1. WeChat subscription account for Chinese residents 

Chinese reporters must use his/her/their ID number. Then they will be the WeChat subscription account administrator. Every subscription account has an administrator but can have different editors. 

2. WeChat service accounts for overseas institutes and non-Chinese citizens. 

There are a lot of organizations that have official WeChat accounts. These are only allowed to create service accounts instead of subscription accounts. To create a service account, you may need the following materials and wait up to one month for processing. 

  • EIN number.
  • Passport number of the account administrator. 
  • $99 annual membership fee. 

The different types of accounts have different limits and features, not limited to the posting frequency and how the messages will appear to others using WeChat.

FeaturesSubscription accountsService accounts
Posts will pop up on the messaging page. NoYes
Frequency of posting 1/per day 4/ per month 
Maximum articles per a post88

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