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WeChat Tests Pay-to-Read Feature for Public Blogging Accounts

By Qian Tong and Denise Jia / Jan 16, 2020 04:27 AM / Business & Tech

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Tencent’s instant-messaging app WeChat is testing a new feature that allows public bloggers to add paywalls to their posts, the company said Wednesday.

Qualified bloggers can charge readers up to 208 yuan ($30) for each article, and WeChat will charge the bloggers a technical service fee.

WeChat, the most popular social media app in China with 1.15 billion monthly active users as of September, said the feature aims to motivate original content publishers to produce more posts with higher quality.

Public blogging accounts, which can be run by individuals or companies, currently make money from in-app advertisements, which are negotiated directly between advertisers and blog owners, with WeChat not taking a cut. Readers can also voluntarily tip bloggers directly via a function called Zan Shang.

Android users can pay with WeChat Pay, Tencent’s mobile payment method. Users with iOS, however, must use Apple’s in-app purchase service, meaning that Apple will take a cut of as much as 30% for each transaction.

It’s unclear how bloggers and readers will respond to the new feature as Chinese users are used to large amounts of free content shared on the social media platform.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com)

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