Tech World

WeChat suspends new user registrations amid Chinese government crackdown on tech giant

WeChat is suspending all new user registrations until early August, the popular social messaging app announced on Tuesday.

In a brief post on social media, WeChat, known as Weixin in China, said the suspension relates to an upgrade of security technology “according to relevant laws and regulations.”

“In the meantime, the registration of new WeChat personal accounts and public accounts will be temporarily suspended,” the app, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.

New registrations will resume after the upgrade is completed, which is expected in early August, the company said.

Weixin is a daily necessity for hundreds of millions of people in China, who use the app to message friends, share photos, hail rides, pay for stuff, book restaurants, order food and a host of other services. Together, Weixin and WeChat, used by the Chinese diaspora including in the United States, have around 1.2 billion monthly active users.

The development comes amid a widening crackdown on technology and now education companies by Chinese regulators that has spooked investors. Tencent’s stock in Hong Kong closed down nearly 9% on Tuesday, its worst day in a decade.

Several tech companies, including e-commerce giant Alibaba, have faced investigations for alleged monopolistic behavior or breaches of customer rights, leading to record fines and massive overhauls. Chinese President Xi Jinping has endorsed the probes, calling on regulators to scrutinize tech companies as the country tightens data privacy and security policies.