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How to Sign Up for WeChat Outside of China in 2022: WeChat App VPN Guide

WeChat is a popular messaging app and social media platform mostly used in China. However, if you’re outside China, the signup process is a little tricky. If you want to learn how to sign up for WeChat, this guide is for you.

Arjun Ruparelia
By Arjun Ruparelia (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-03-07T20:00:45+00:00

WeChat is a popular messaging app by Tencent and now has over a billion active users. The app is straightforward to use, and that’s probably what WeChat users like about it. However, WeChat’s signup process can be complicated, especially if you’re not in China. If you don’t know how to sign up for WeChat, we’re going to walk you through the process.

Remember that WeChat is a Chinese app, some of which have been likened to Trojan horses. Understandably, WeChat is one of the most powerful tools in China’s monitoring toolkit. However, if you’ve decided to use it, you’ll first need a WeChat account, and creating one can be quite a process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Signing up for WeChat is different from other apps because it involves an extensive verification process. 
  • In most cases, you’ll need to ask a WeChat user to verify your account. However, you can also try contacting WeChat support to see if they’re willing to help.
  • You should note that while WeChat can help you connect with your friends, it lacks end-to-end encryption and collects data.

When you install the WeChat app on your device, you’ll first need to sign up with a valid mobile phone number. Not only that, you’ll also need an existing WeChat user to verify your account. Let’s talk about how you can create WeChat account on a device you’ve never used it on before.

  • Yes, WeChat can spy on your phone. A study by the Citizen Lab reveals that WeChat also spies on foreigners to relay data to its machine-learning system, which is then used for censoring content in Mainland China.

Step by Step: How to Sign Up for WeChat

Before you start the WeChat signup process, you should know that you’ll need to provide a valid (not virtual) phone number. You can’t complete WeChat registration using your Facebook account, QQ number or an email address.

However, if you’re in a country where WeChat is blocked (like India), you won’t see the WeChat app listed. In such countries, you can change the country within the App or Play store and use a VPN to connect with a server located in your selected country. 

However, the Play store only allows you to change your location once per year. If you’re reluctant to change the location, you may be able to simply download an .APK file. Note that .APK files downloaded from less than reputable sources can infect your phone with a virus.

  1. Download and Install WeChat

    Download and install WeChat on your device from the Play store or the App store. Search for WeChat in the store, find it in the search results and click the “install” button (or the “get” button if you use iOS).

    wechat install
  2. Select “Sign Up” and Insert Your Details

    After installing WeChat, launch the app and click the “sign up” button. On the next screen, insert your details: your name, region, phone number and a password. You can enter a fake name, but you’ll need to enter a correct phone number for WeChat verification. Also, note that you can create only one WeChat account with one phone number.

    wechat sign up
  3. Agree to Terms of Service

    Once you’ve entered all the details, check the box next to “agree to terms of service” and click on “sign up.”

    wechat details
  4. Verify WeChat Account

    Next, you’ll need to verify your WeChat account. This is where you can complete the security verification process. The first part is just like a CAPTCHA, where you’ll need to drag a puzzle piece to the other side of the screen. However, the second part (friend verification) is a little tricky because you may not have any WeChat friends, especially if you’re not in China.

    wechat signup captcha

How Can I Verify My WeChat Account Without Friends?

A WeChat account must be verified by an existing WeChat user. However, to be able to verify your account, the WeChat user must meet certain conditions. The user must have:

  1. Signed up to WeChat more than six months ago
  2. Activated WeChat Pay — a mobile payment app developed by WeChat (if the friend is in China)
  3. Not verified another WeChat user in the past month (a user can verify a maximum of three accounts per year)
  4. Not been blocked in the past month

Note that WeChat might decline activating your account even if all conditions are met. Nobody knows why WeChat declines some accounts even after verification, but to maximize your chances of approval, see if you can find a friend based in Mainland China to verify your account. Finding a China Mainland user might be hard for an international user, but it helps.

Once you do find someone, you’ll need to provide them with your QR code so they can verify you. Unfortunately, unless you complete this process, there’s a very slim chance that you’ll be able to access WeChat. 

wechat signup qr code
Have a WeChat user scan the QR code to complete registration.

However, in some cases, users have reported that contacting the WeChat support team helps. Users report that contacting the support team in Chinese is helpful, but messages sent in English take more time to receive a response. That being said, some messages might not receive a response at all.

An unconventional way of getting WeChat approval is reaching out to generous folks on online forums like Reddit, asking them if they’re willing to verify your WeChat account. If you find someone, share your verification code and you’re done. 

Is WeChat Safe?

No, WeChat is not safe. It offers poor security and has a terrible privacy policy. Unlike other popular messaging apps, WeChat lacks end-to-end encryption. This means conversations between two users aren’t private. Instead, WeChat uses transport encryption, which allows users as well as WeChat itself to access your data.

WeChat is owned by a private entity, Tencent, but remember that it’s a Chinese company. The Chinese government can always come up with ways to access user data stored by Chinese companies. Plus, WeChat has also been thought to be malware by experts.

A study by the Citizen Lab found that WeChat doesn’t just spy on Chinese users, but also on foreigners, to mine data for its machine-learning system so it can be used for censoring content in Mainland China.

If you’re about to use WeChat, it’s highly recommended that you use a VPN to encrypt your data. If you’re not all that familiar with VPNs, we have a comprehensive guide on the best WeChat VPN you can read.

WeChat Location Hack: How Can I Fake My Location on WeChat?

There are several reasons you may want to change your location on WeChat.

  • Privacy concerns: Most people who want to use a fake GPS location on WeChat are concerned about their online privacy.
  • WeChat Shake: WeChat has a feature where you can shake your phone and have the app look for people nearby. When you fake your location on WeChat, you’ll be able to connect with people from different regions.
  • Pranking someone: Some people just want to have fun by tricking friends, family or colleagues into believing that they’re somewhere else by faking their GPS location on WeChat.

Most apps on your phone query the OS (Android or iOS), using an API to get your GPS location and IP address. The API looks at the IP address to determine an approximate location and relays the information to the app.

Now, if you use a fake GPS app to hide your actual location, it will replace the API. When an app requests information about your location, the fake GPS app will respond to the query instead of the OS. In a lot of cases, this works fine, but WeChat does things a little differently.

expressvpn connect usa
You can use a VPN, but there’s a good chance that WeChat will still detect your actual location.

WeChat’s Tamper-Proofing

WeChat uses a more tamper-proof method. Instead of a software query, WeChat uses the Baidu Positioning SDK, which sends hardware-level queries. Users suspect that it interacts directly with your GPS hardware, so using an app for a fake location on WeChat might not help.

There’s a simpler way to fake your WeChat location, but it might not work for very long. You can change your location from within the app without having to download a fake GPS app. Go to your WeChat profile from within the app and navigate to More > Region. You’ll see a list of regions; just select a different region and you’ll have changed your location from within the app. 

Some users have also reported successful attempts to sign up for WeChat using a combination of a VPN and a GPS spoofing app. However, WeChat now detects such attempts easily and will most likely ban your account upon detection.

Final Thoughts

WeChat can be useful if you need to chat with your friends or associates who use WeChat regularly. However, you can’t simply download WeChat and start using it. Signing up for a WeChat account can be time consuming, especially if you’re not in China, because of its security verification requirements. If you do sign up, we recommend using a VPN like ExpressVPN to protect yourself.

Have you successfully registered a WeChat account from outside China? Did you have to contact WeChat support? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!

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