The ban has been a source of debate for months, with some saying it could hurt WeChat’s future, others saying it will bring a lot of new business and users to the platform.
And a new report says that WeChat is the subject of a major investigation into abuse in China.
The company has been under scrutiny since early September, when a Chinese news site accused it of selling a fake “virtual currency” that could be used to buy fake goods online.
WeChat has vehemently denied the allegations and said it does not use any fake currency or any of its services.
But many experts have argued that Wechat’s growing popularity could be the reason the company was chosen to test the waters for banning.
The company has reportedly been banned in China before, with similar bans in India and Brazil, but never in the United States.
We have also been banned from China several times before, but that ban came only after the company raised its profile and began offering a real-time chat feature.
WeChat had faced a similar ban in the U.S. in December 2016 after a reporter for the Wall Street Journal claimed to have seen accounts linked to WeChat users with criminal histories, including sex trafficking.
We said we had no comment, but the company has said it would comply with the subpoena.
WeChat users were reportedly banned from other countries after the Wall St. Journal report surfaced, but a WeChat spokesperson said the company had not seen any such reports in China and the account was never banned.
In an interview with CBC News, WeChat chief executive officer Lei Jun said the ban could hurt the platform’s growth.
“I believe we are more important than ever, but we cannot grow without good partners and good partnerships,” Lei said.
“We have to be a partner of the U of A, of the university, of students and parents.
If we cannot find partners in the university and the university of the students, then we will not be able to grow.”
Lei also said that if WeChat was banned in the States, the company would “definitely” reconsider its plans to launch in the country.
“We will be looking at how we can strengthen our relationships with the UofA and students in the near future,” Lei told CBC.