China’s Tencent rebrands WeChat work app forward of Trump ban – ET Telecom

HONG KONG: Chinese tech large Tencent Holdings has modified the identify of its WeChat Work workplace collaboration app to WeCom, setting it up as a possible various to its messaging app WeChat forward of a U.S. ban.

Tencent, registered the WeCom trademark on Aug. 19, based on the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Two Tencent sources mentioned WeCom doesn’t fall underneath the scope of a ban on WeChat-related transactions within the United States from Sept. 20, certainly one of a sequence of U.S. measures cracking down on Chinese tech companies 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 providers. Its so-called tremendous app is all however important for each day life in China and boasts greater than a billion customers.

In the United States, WeChat is extensively utilized by Chinese expats and others to speak with associates and associates in China. It has a median of 19 million each day lively customers within the United States, based on 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 associates with out their WeChat contacts having to obtain WeCom.

There was no indication that Tencent has actively promoted WeCom within the United States. There has additionally been no surge in downloads of WeCom in latest weeks, based on Sensor Tower.

WECOM WORKAROUND

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is about to launch laws by Sunday clarifying which WeChat transactions will likely be prohibited underneath President Donald Trump‘s govt order.

On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department mentioned Ross didn’t plan to focus on individuals or teams who solely obtain or use WeChat to convey private or enterprise info.

Tencent employees within the United States have traditionally used WeChat Work to speak with the corporate’s headquarters in Shenzhen. Tencent has not less than 250 U.S.-based staff.

Trump’s Aug. 6 announcement of the ban on transactions associated to WeChat prompted a spike in downloads of WeChat and various apps by U.S. 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% increased than the identical interval a yr in the past.

But the app has gained little traction within the United States. New U.S. 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 yr.

Nina Wei, a Chinese entrepreneur in Seattle, mentioned she used WeCom principally to attach with enterprise contacts in China however hadn’t used it a lot not too long ago as numerous initiatives had fallen aside amid deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations.

She was unaware that WeCom was a possible workaround.

“I haven’t connected my WeCom to my WeChat yet as I was hoping to keep my work life and private life separate.”

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