Wechat suspends new user registration amid China crackdown
Chinese social media giant Wechat has temporarily suspended new user registrations as Beijing ramps up its crackdown on domestic tech firms.
The messaging platform, which is owned by Tencent, said it was upgrading its security technology “to align with relevant laws and registrations”.
“During this time, registration of new Weixin [Wechat] personal and official accounts has been temporarily suspended. Registration services will be restored after the upgrade is complete, which is expected in early August,” the company said in a statement.
It comes as Chinese regulators tighten rules around privacy and data security as part of a wider clampdown on some of its biggest profit-making companies.
The country is preparing a Personal Information Protection Law that will force tech platforms to impose stricter measures to ensure secure storage of user data.
China has already targeted major tech companies including ride-hailing app Didi, which saw its market valuation almost halve after authorities ramped up the pressure.
The probe, which is focused on alleged data security flaws, came just days after the Chinese company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The shifting regulatory pressures have sparked major paper losses for investors such as Softbank’s Vision Fund and Uber.
It is the latest intervention by Beijing as the regime begins to take action against the ballooning power of its country’s tech giants.
Earlier this year China handed down a record $2.8bn fine to Alibaba for alleged anti-competitive practices, while authorities have issued warnings to dozens more companies including Tencent, JD.com and Tiktok owner Bytedance.