Tips for original content creators on WeChat is back on both iOS and Android after the WeChat team reached an agreement with Apple. The tips will go directly to the author of the individual piece or article, not to the public account itself. Tencent blocked the function in the iOS version of WeChat in April 2017 after Apple found it was at odds with its in-app purchasing rules.

Given the huge sums of money given to popular live streamers, this could prove highly lucrative to content creators. Tencent itself has recently been pushing content creation hard across its many divisions.

WeChat users will find an orange button at the bottom of the content page with a thumbs up symbol and “Like the author” (our translation of “喜欢作者”, the English wording is not available yet). Readers can enter any amount they wish, with a few suggested amounts as buttons.

Authors need to set up an account via an invitation from an eligible public account. The account is activated and then managed using a purpose built mini program. (TechNode authors have not yet done this, in case you were rushing to grab your e-wallet. Editor’s note: We will soon.) When a public account is preparing an original piece of content to post, there will be a setting for that piece to earn tips which go directly to the named author.

All types of public accounts that publish 3 articles by one author are now eligible to set up tipping accounts on behalf of their public account. All public accounts can create up to three tipping accounts at present, according to the press release.

WeChat mini program for tipping back end
The invitation feature in the mini program. (Image credit: WeChat)

According to the FAQ in WeChat’s announcement, WeChat will hold any tips for 7 days before adding them to the author’s WeChat Pay account.

WeChat hopes that the changes will usher in more original content as individual authors will be incentivized. This model has allowed live streamers to generate huge incomes.

WeChat had not responded to questions about the cooperation with Apple by the time of publishing.

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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