Father of WeChat announces independent app for Official Accounts

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Allen Zhang, more commonly known as the “Father of WeChat”, disclosed at WeChat’s annual open class that the company is planning to launch an independent app for Official Accounts, the highly popular feature that’s crucial for any business to interact with customers through WeChat.

The team has been working on the project for quite some time and even have finalized a preliminary version, but they didn’t release it because the logic behind the product hasn’t been worked out.

“WeChat is designed as a mobile-first product, but the operating platform of Official Account is highly reliant on PC. Moving from what we have on PC platform to the app or creating a whole different mobile experience. We were torn between the two options. But luckily, we are finishing the app now and it will be released very soon,” said Allen.

Another exciting news for the feature is that WeChat will bring back its in-app tipping feature for iOS versions after negotiation with Apple. “The negotiations with Apple also give us a lot of thinking. The previous tipping system is based on Official Accounts, which may feature the contribution from several writers. The new one will shift to a writer-based structure,” Zhang added.

Originally, the WeChat team encouraged Official Account owners to use QR codes embedded in posts from Official Accounts, allowing users to transfer funds to authors’ individual accounts. Apple’s new iOS policies has put a stop into this function, which in turn ignited conflict with lots of local tech giants including WeChat, Toutiao, Zhihu, and Weibo.