Tencent’s messaging, social media and mobile payment app WeChat has suspended new user registration in China until early August due to a ‘security technical upgrade’ to comply with ‘relevant laws and regulations’, the Chinese tech giant said in a social media post today.
“We are currently upgrading our security technology to align with all relevant laws and regulations,” the company told Reuters.
“During this time, registration of new Weixin (WeChat’s Chinese version) personal and official accounts has been temporarily suspended. Registration services will be restored after the upgrade is complete, which is expected in early August,” it added.
WeChat, or Weixin, is currently the most popular social media network in mainland China with over 1.2 billion monthly active users. Following the news, its owner and developer Tencent’s shares dropped as much as 9%.
The Chinese government is known for its tight control over tech companies and personal data storage. The country is currently working on a Personal Information Protection Law which will require tech companies to impose stricter measures to protect personal data security.
Earlier this month, China ordered a ban on the new downloads of the ride-hailing giant Didi for illegally collecting personal data after which the company lost $22 billion in market cap.
Meanwhile, this is the first time in a long time WeChat is taking such a step in its home country due to legal reasons.
However, the company faced greater difficulties in the United States last year when the former president Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban WeChat and TikTok.
Last month, Joe Biden withdrew Trump’s orders.