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China’s Tencent rebrands WeChat work app ahead of Trump ban


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HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings 0700. HK has actually changed the name of its WeChat Work office cooperation app to WeCom, setting it up as a prospective alternative to its messaging app WeChat ahead of a U.S. constraint.

SEND IMAGE: The messenger app WeChat is seen among U.S. flags in this illustration image taken Aug. 7, 2020. REUTERS/Florence Lo

Tencent, signed up the WeCom hallmark on Aug. 19, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.Two Tencent

sources said WeCom does not fall under the scope of a ban on WeChat-related handle the United States from Sept. 20, amongst a series of U.S. actions punishing Chinese tech companies and apps that Washington says are dangers to national security.Tencent decreased to comment.WeChat is an all-in-one mobile app that integrates messaging, social media networks, payment functions and other services. Its so-called extremely app is all but necessary for every day life in China and boasts more than a billion users.In the United States, WeChat is commonly used by Chinese expats and others to communicate with good friends and partners in China. It has approximately 19 million daily active users in the United States, according to analytics firm Apptopia.After downloading WeCom, users can now link their WeChat account to it and include their WeChat contacts, a Reuters test exposed. WeCom users can then

message, produce chat groups, and even get virtual money from WeChat buddies without their WeChat contacts needing to download WeCom.There was no sign that Tencent has really actively promoted WeCom in the United States. There has actually also been no rise in downloads of WeCom in recent weeks, according to Sensing unit Tower.U.S.Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is set to launch standards by Sunday clarifying which WeChat deals will be restricted under President Donald Trump’s executive order.On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department mentioned Ross did not plan to target individuals or groups who only download or make use of WeChat to convey individual or service information.Tencent personnel in the United States have actually traditionally utilized WeChat Work to interact with the business’s head office in Shenzhen. Tencent has at least 250 U.S.-based employees.Trump’s Aug. 6 declaration of the constraint on deals connected with WeChat triggered a spike in downloads of WeChat and alternative apps by U.S. residents. A group of WeChat users has also taken legal action against to block the ban.The WeCom mobile app has actually been acquiring appeal in China, where downloads in the very first part of September increased 74% from about 690,000 during the first 16 days of August. Downloads were 158% greater than the extremely exact same duration a year ago.But the app has actually gotten little traction in the United States. New U.S. installs up previously in September stand at about 3,000, the same from the exact same period in August and up from 1,000 throughout the really first part of September last year.Nina Wei, a Chinese company owner in Seattle, stated she used WeCom generally to get in touch with company contacts in China however had in factn’t used it much just recently as a variety of tasks had really broken down in the middle of deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations.She was

uninformed that WeCom was a prospective workaround. “I have actually not connected my WeCom to my WeChat yet as I was wanting to keep my work life and individual life different.” Reporting by Pei Li in Hong Kong; Additional Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee in San Francisco; Editing by David Clarke

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