China’s super app WeChat plans to launch a paid cloud storage service, state-owned media China Daily reported on Sept. 3, citing unnamed sources. The iCloud-like feature would be WeChat’s first paid subscription service since it launched in 2011.
Why it matters: The move could give WeChat’s 1.25 billion users an option to back up their chat records on the cloud, addressing an outstanding users’ complaint. The subscription could also bring new income streams for Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, as regulatory pressure on mobile games grows and companies are being encouraged to be more socially responsible.
Details: The project, which has been pushed by Tencent aggressively, has entered “the final stage,” the report said, citing another unnamed source.
- WeChat plans to charge users on a yearly basis. iOS users could be paying RMB 180 ($28) a year while Android users would pay RMB 130, the report said.
- A WeChat spokesperson declined to comment on the issue when contacted by TechNode on Monday.
Context: WeChat’s global monthly active users reached 1.25 billion in the second quarter of this year, up 3.8% from last year, according to Tencent’s Q2 earnings report.
- WeChat users have long been annoyed by loss of chat data as the app only allows local storage on devices.
- More Chinese people are demanding cloud storage services. The number of cloud users in China was forecast to exceed 400 million in 2020, according to market intelligence firm iiMedia (in Chinese).