Rumors about that Chinese Telcos are to charge for WeChat (Weixin in Mandarin) usage went wild in the past week. There are even rumored pricing plans. WeChat has denied all (statement in Chinese). Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent (WeChat’s patent company), said that WeChat’d not have users pay on various occasions in last month.

It had sounded untenable before the minister of MIIT, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, confirmed that operators expected to charge for WeChat and the ministry was “coordinating” on March 31. “(Operators) said that to maintain such a big network they had to make investments and operate it. It’s reasonable to charge somewhere else besides data”, he said operators were required to submit a proposal. He added that the fees wouldn’t be high and he’d bother to care whether ” a good company like Tencent” would be killed by carriers’ leveraging their  monopoly positions (in Chinese).

But it’s unknown whether operators wanted to charge are not users, but Tencent. Operators, China Mobile in particular, have made it clear that they were unhappy about the decline in traditional businesses. China Mobile has been accusing Tencent for using too much of their resources while giving little in return.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com