WeChat Banned: 6 Alternative Messaging Apps for Amazon Sellers

On Friday morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced plans to ban downloads to TikTok and WeChat effective Sunday, September 20th.

Consequently, users who have already downloaded the apps will retain access for the time being. However, they’ll be unable to download updated versions of the app in the future under current restrictions.

“The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on Fox Business.

For Amazon sellers, the app restrictions may present a roadblock — and not because it complicates their ability to upload their version of the latest TikTok dance craze.

Many Amazon sellers who use manufacturers abroad in countries such as China rely upon WeChat for communication with their suppliers. Any disruptions in communication could be crucial for Amazon sellers, especially as a loaded Q4 awaits.

While those with WeChat already installed maintain the ability to use the platform, US servers carrying data will no longer work. As a result, messages will be sent through servers overseas, which will likely take much longer and complicate communication.

What Can WeChat Users Do?

Affected sellers would be wise to establish another means of communication to exchange messages with manufacturers as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are quite a few WeChat alternatives to choose from: 

WhatsApp
Perhaps the platform most similar to WeChat, WhatsApp allows quick and easy messaging without pesky SMS charges. Furthermore, WhatsApp is a stripped-down version of WeChat that focuses more on chat and less on social media and search.

Slack
As more companies go remote in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slack has become an integral part of businesses in 2020. Commonly at the top of the list for productivity tools, Slack contains seemingly endless integrations for seamless collaboration.

Line
The Japanese-based messaging app is free and gives users the ability to communicate via chat, voice, or video.
 

Telegram
With an emphasis on end-to-end encryption to keep your messages secure, Telegram can be used via app or desktop. Additionally, Telegram expects to announce end-to-end encrypted group videos before 2021, and its popularity could skyrocket.

Weibo
Usually referred to as the Chinese Twitter, Weibo has over 500 million active users and gives you the option to post publicly or send private messages.

Facebook Messenger
Chances are, you already have a Facebook and utilize the Facebook Messenger app with family, friends, or coworkers. Facebook’s messaging app is free to use with a Facebook account and is American-owned, so there’s less risk from potential U.S. governmental interference.

With an unprecedented Q4 ahead, avoiding potential communication hazards will be increasingly critical to your company’s ultimate success. For instance, the inability to communicate with your manufacturer could be crippling for inventory management.

Because much of the recent news regarding the availability of TikTok and WeChat remains ongoing, the situation remains fluid. Certainly, affected Amazon sellers should check for updates until a final resolution is reached.

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Cameron Stewart

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