back to article Bad news for Tencent: Chinese companies steer employees away from Weixin or WeChat

Managers of large Chinese state-run companies have told employees to delete, shutdown and discontinue use of Tencent messaging app Weixin for work purposes, citing potential security breaches, according to the Wall Street Journal. The news outlet named China Mobile, China Construction Bank and China National Petroleum among …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    It's interesting that China uses western naming rather than Soviet Union's - the "companies" should rather be called combines. I guess China is all about the face, they want to be seen just like any modern free country on the outside, but when you see beneath the gold wrap, you will smell...

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: Terminology


      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Terminology


    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Terminology

      China uses Chinese words, the Soviet Union used Russian words. The words we read are based on how people decide to translate them into English.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Terminology

        Not exactly. Combine or Kombinat was a common name describing a state run enterprise in communist countries - comrades wouldn't dare calling such organisation "a corporation" that would be a blasphemy. Since the fall of Soviet Union, however, it was no longer "cool" to advertise to the world who you really are as a state, so probably that's why China adopted capitalist terms into where they were most fitting. I find it funny, but unfortunately many people still believe their "companies" are the same thing like companies in the west.

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: Terminology

          @elsergiovolador: Combine or Kombinat was a common name describing a state run enterprise in communist countries

          Sorry, but I have to call fake news on it. Most probably not your fault, but we are on a kind of social media here and have a responsibility... Are you a Russian speaker? While I am not Russian I am fluent in the language and I know the realities, so here is an explanation.

          "Combine" ("комбайн") in Russian means a combine (harvester), surprisingly enough. Kombinat ("комбинат") was never a generic term for a state-run enterprise, but simply a common term for a type of factory or plant (emphatically not company or enterprise as we use the terms in the West), specifically one with a multi-stage production process where the output of one stage was used as raw material for another. E.g., food processing plants were commonly called that. Another, less common use, was actually in the names of companies producing or providing a set of related goods or services. In either case the notion of "combination" was the key. It never meant "pooling (combining) resources within a legal framework" as we might mean it (and as you might have, not unreasonably, but still incorrectly, assumed on a purely etymological basis).

          Even in the state-run economy there were (and still are) also terms "предприятие" (a literal translation of "enterprise") and "объединение" ("association").

          And yes, the word "company" ("компания") is widely used in Russian in exactly the familiar sense of legal association for a particular (business) objective. It wasn't in common use in the state-run economy of the USSR of old for obvious reasons, but it was always used to refer to Western companies. The moment private enterprise was officially allowed 30-something years ago "компании с ограниченной ответственностью" (literally, "companies with limited responsibility" - rings a bell?) became common, and so did "акционерные общества" (joint-stock enterprises - literally, "societies", a term in common use also, say, in French or Italian). And while state-run or state-owned companies exist and are often very big and widely known private companies in Russia are both common and not all that different in nature or structure from ours. The legal regime and the economic environment in which they are operating is very different, of course, but that's a different topic (also relevant to companies such as Tencent or Alibaba, to stay on topic, and to quite agree with you in spirit).

          I don't know Chinese, unfortunately - if there is anything interesting to learn someone else will have to pitch in.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Terminology

        "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." -- James D. Nicoll

  2. DS999 Silver badge

    So wait

    "This app is insecure" and "ban on Tencent updating apps" is logically inconsistent.

    We know this is all some sort of retaliation against Tencent and Pony Ma for not toeing the Xi party line in some way or another, but shouldn't they at least come up with something that makes sense to their citizens watching from the inside?

    The fact the government doesn't believe they have to come up with a better lie shows they either believe their citizens are so brainwashed they will believe anything they're told, or worse they're now under such a tight grip it doesn't matter if they see the obvious lies the government is telling them.

    1. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: So wait

      I go for the second option they are under a tight grip, do the "wrong" thing and your social score is going to be affected which would have a bad effect on you.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Hordes of bot accounts using clever dodging tactics are causing burnout among human censors"

    It could be related to bizarre this news reported in the SCMP (Hong Kong) Nov 14, 2021

    China’s internet police losing man-versus-machine duel on social media

    Hordes of bot accounts using clever dodging tactics are causing burnout among human censors, police investigative paper finds

    Authorities may respond by raising a counter-army of automated accounts or even an AI-driven public opinion leader

  4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Trouble brewing

    Seems like trouble brewing for Tencent. I just can't see an app company doing that well in the long term when they're banned from updating their apps.

  5. Jason Hindle

    They’re just mirroring the rest of the world

    It’s been well over a decade since Western companies started forming social media policies and directing employees away for personal IM accounts. I’m surprised China is this far behind. It’s now up to Tencent and friends to compete with Microsoft who (along with Teams) are very much alive and well in China.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, that's gotta sting when even the Chinese government is complaining about your privacy issues.

    Or is it the fact the Chinese government is having trouble intercepting those particular chat clients? *LOL*

  7. EricB123 Bronze badge

    Perhaps Maybe

    Perhaps maybe the Chinese see all of the damage these mega anti-social media companies are causing and are taking a sledge hammer approach to the problem?

  8. Ashmolean

    Next month - behold the launch of XiChat…..

  9. Max Watson

    Wait what? Weixin is just WeChat's Chinese name. They're the same app.

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