The features and capabilities of of the WeChat Official Account Platform depend on what type of account you register. Your Official Account (OA) is either Chinese or international; service, subscription or enterprise; verified or unverified. Businesses frequently ask us what type of OA to register and whether or not they need to verify. The answer is almost always the same: get a verified Chinese service account. The graphic below shows why.
As we saw in our previous graphic on the differences between service and subscription accounts, the only time when a subscription account looks better than a service account is on broadcast messaging volume, in this case daily messages versus four times per month. This is not such a big advantage when you consider daily subscription messages don’t get push notifications and are all grouped together in the follower’s subscription folder. Note that both account types have basically unlimited one-to-one messaging, as long as the follower initiates the conversation.
We don’t discuss the newer enterprise accounts as much, but these are meant to be internal communication tools for companies. They allow virtually unlimited messaging to followers and more admin-level controls.
Platform Features and Developer Tools
The two graphics below are a comprehensive deep dive into the entirety of the WeChat Official Account Platform features and developer interfaces. Not only should this help answer a lot of questions about the differences between types of OAs, it should also make clear the full breadth of everything that is currently possible with an OA. Please be aware that the Chinese and foreign WeChat official accounts are not the same. Chinese OAs log into the Chinese-language Official Account Platform and foreign OAs to the international Official Account Platform. Chinese WeChat users, defined as anyone who registered with a +86 phone number, do not have access to foreign OAs, but non-Chinese WeChat users have access to both Chinese and foreign OAs. In the graphic below, some of the advanced features are currently only available for qualified Chinese OAs. For more information, check out the WeiXin Developer Documentation (Chinese) or the WeChat Developer Documentation (English, though not quite complete nor accurate).
Click on the images to open in full size. Feel free to share the images with attribution. Thanks to the great artists at Fontello for the icons used in this graphic.