It was revealed that the Chinese company Tencent Holdings has changed the name of its WeChat Work office collaboration app on WeCom, making it a potential alternative to the WeChat messaging app ahead of its ban in the US.
Tencent employees in the US used WeChat Work to communicate with the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen. Tencent has at least 250 employees in the US.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Tencent registered the WeCom trademark in the United States on Aug.19. The WeCom mobile app has been in use in China for a long time and has recently begun to gain popularity. The number of app downloads in the first half of September rose 74% from 690,000 in the first 16 days of August. Moreover, WeCom downloads were 158% higher than in the same period last year.
Two Reuters sources at Tencent said WeCom is not subject to the ban on transactions related to WeChat, which is being introduced in the United States on September 20.
In the United States, WeChat is widely used by expats and other users to communicate with friends and colleagues in China. According to analyst firm Apptopia, WeChat has an average of 19 million daily active users in the US.
As the Reuters test showed, users will now be able to link their WeChat account to WeCom after downloading WeCom and add the contacts they have in the messenger. WeCom users will be able to exchange messages, create chat groups and even receive virtual money from friends on WeChat, without having their WeChat contacts download WeCom.
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