WeChat, the popular social messaging app, announced on Tuesday that it will suspend all new user registrations until early August. WeChat, also known as Weixin in China, stated in a brief social media post that the suspension is due to an upgrading of security technology “in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.”
“Registration services will be restored after the upgrade is complete, which is expected in early August,” said WeChat, which had more than 1.2 billion monthly active users in China earlier this year.
It is unclear which law WeChat is referring to in its announcement, but the move comes amid a broader assault on Chinese digital firms by Chinese regulators. The crackdown has cost Chinese corporations billions of dollars in market capitalization in recent weeks, and it has hurt many high-profile worldwide investors, including SoftBank.
This is the first time in more than a decade that WeChat, China’s super app, has had to take such a move. Weixin, in addition to providing a chat service, allows users to make online payments and access a variety of financial services.
The crackdown on private enterprises could erode international investors’ trust in Chinese stocks, according to Nomura analysts in a research report issued on Monday. “Bruised and shaken investors are now likely to ponder which other areas could potentially become the next target of expanded state control,” they said.