We have already reported several times in Russian and English about the replacement of WeChat Pay and Alipay codes from March 1, 2022 for commercial transactions - see our previous news for more details.
And on February 22, 2022, the China Payments and Clearing Association published an announcement to optimize payment services with WeChat and Alipay codes from March 1, 2022. The announcement stated that for commercial transactions and fundraising through Wechat and Alipay, a new business code must be created, which users can freely use.
It also states that when using the new business code, the volume of services does not decrease, the experience does not change, the code assignment process is free, and they can enjoy more efficient transaction matching and other services. The current "personal code" will not be closed or disabled, and its functions will remain unchanged, it can be used for personal and not for commercial purposes in the future.
In the next phase, the China Payments and Clearing Association will focus on continuously improving the collection code service function, improving the security of code payments, better meeting the diverse payment needs of users, protecting the legitimate rights and interests of users, so as to create a favorable market environment.
Subsequently, WeChat Pay and Alipay released announcements that after March 1, 2022, "personal payment code" can be used in a restricted manner for a limited period. At the same time, the "personal code" will be upgraded to the "business code" for users through a notification.
Big data analysis techniques will reportedly be used to identify individuals who conduct commercial transactions using personal codes, if found, these individuals will be notified to switch from a Wechat personal code to a business code in order to carry out business activities.
In the announcement, WeChat Pay and Alipay promised that a personal code can be upgraded to a business code for free. After the upgrade, the original rights, such as free money collection and free cash withdrawal, will continue to be used, and will also enjoy higher rights and interests, such as guarantee limit.
Here, an interesting case is the use by foreigners of WeChat Pay and Alipay personal codes to collect money from the sale of goods and services, which are now overflowing with many foreign WeChat groups.
Since foreigners cannot be self-employed in China, it is likely that foreigners need to legalize their business activities in China - by establishing a joint venture with the Chinese or an enterprise with 100% foreign investment. And only after that, foreigners will be able to get a WeChat Pay and Alipay business code for this company.
It is not yet clear how the WeChat Pay and Alipay robots will react if, as a result of big data analysis, they discover that foreigners are using WeChat Pay and Alipay personal codes in business activities not registered in China, if a notice is sent to the Chinese to obtain a business code, as As stated above, foreigners cannot be self-employed, therefore non-incorporated foreigners cannot obtain such a business code and, accordingly, foreigners cannot obtain a personal business code as easily as the Chinese can.
Therefore, there is a possibility of blocking WeChat Pay and Alipay accounts for foreigners, but there is no exact information yet, it will be clear after March 1, 2022, how this will be done in practice