- Services to distribute or maintain the WeChat mobile app where mobile users within US territory may download or update the app for use on their mobile devices;
- Internet hosting, content delivery, or directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the functioning or optimization of the app within US territory; and
- Services through the app for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments to or from parties within US territory.
1.Providing the WeChat App – Distribution or maintenance of the WeChat mobile app or updates to it through an online mobile app store or any online marketplace where mobile users within US territory can download or update the app for use on their mobile devices. Starting Sunday, users will no longer be able to download the WeChat app from the US Apple App Store or US Google Play Store.
3. Providing WeChat content delivery – Provision of content delivery services enabling the functioning and optimization of the WeChat mobile app in the US. A content delivery service is a service that copies, saves and delivers content for a fee. For example, a website may contract with a content delivery network to provide proxy servers geographically close to end users, rather than from a single centralized location, to improve response time. Such content delivery services will be prohibited from serving content for WeChat “for a fee” starting Sunday.
4. Providing internet transit or peering services – Any provision of directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling or optimizing the WeChat mobile app within the US. At a minimum, this prohibits network providers from directly contracting or arranging with Tencent to provide dedicated bandwidth for WeChat. This may not be a significant problem because it is understood that Tencent’s servers for North America are situated in Canada. A more strict interpretation of this prohibition would require network providers to block all WeChat data traffic. Between item 2 above and this prohibition, the transfer of WeChat data within the US will be subject to delays and, in the worst case, will become virtually impossible.
5. Providing fund transfers or payment processing – Provision of services through the WeChat mobile app for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments. Examples may include financial institutions and merchants. But note that this prohibition only applies to business-to-business transactions. Individual users may still be able to send other users funds using WeChat if doing so does not require a business-to-business fund transfer or payment processing.
6. Using WeChat code or functions for other software – Utilization of the WeChat mobile app’s constituent code, function or services in the function of software or services developed or accessible in the US. This provision will prohibit using the WeChat mobile app’s source code to create another version of the application or to provide “mini programs” such as games that work within WeChat.
7. Any transaction that may be later identified – Other transactions related to WeChat with Tencent as may be identified at a future date by the Secretary of Commerce. This provision is a catch-all placeholder for future identifications of prohibitions that the Secretary of Commerce may announce in the same manner as the WeChat Prohibitions have been announced under the authority delegated to it under the August 6 Executive Order. This provision threatens additional prohibitions to be announced in the future and is likely designed to persuade businesses from engaging in transactions with Tencent that are not specifically prohibited by the WeChat Prohibitions.
Authors: KWM New York Office