WeChat pauses registration of new users in China to comply with local laws

People living in China will not be able to register new accounts on WeChat until early August as the app undergoes technical changes to comply with local laws.

WeChat said on Tuesday it will temporarily stop accepting new users on the Chinese version of its app as it works to make technical changes to comply with local laws and regulations.

"In accordance with relevant laws and regulations, we are upgrading our security technology, during which we will suspend the registration of new users of WeChat personal accounts and public accounts," WeChat said on Weibo.  

WeChat did not provide information about which specific laws and regulations were being cited in its social media post.

According to the Tencent-owned social media platform, the technical changes are expected to be completed in early August, with registration of new users to be reopened once the changes are made.

The decision to make these technical changes follows the Chinese government over the weekend ordering WeChat's parent company, Tencent, to end its exclusive contracts with music copyright holders to quell anti-competition concerns.

Another Tencent digital platform, QQ, was also fined last week as part of the Chinese government's enforcement of a new special action that bans people aged under 16 from appearing in content within online live-streaming and video platforms. 

The various regulatory measures enforced against Tencent companies are just some among the many that Chinese regulators have doled out against local tech giants as part of Beijing's local crackdown on tech.

In the past year alone, the Chinese government has ordered local food delivery platforms to provide riders with minimum wages, removed Didi from Chinese app stores and placed it under cybersecurity review, slapped Alibaba with a record 18.2 billion yuan fine, and put 33 apps on notice for collecting more user data than deemed necessary when offering services.

The government in March also released regulations that prohibit mobile app developers from refusing to offer basic services to consumers who do not want to provide personal data that is unnecessary for the provision of such services. 

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