WeChat is probably the most used messenger app in China, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise to learn that over in China, the government is considering using WeChat accounts as state ID. In a report from the Financial Times (paywall; via Engadget), a pilot program testing out the idea will be rolling out next month.
This is expected to take place in Guangdong’s capital city of Guangzhou, and users will be able to link their identities to the app starting this week if they’d like to get ahead of things. This will be done through the use of facial recognition. What this means is that in the event that you need to present your state-issued ID card, your WeChat account will be able to double up as that and accomplish the same thing.
However there will be some limitations as you won’t be able to do everything with it and depending on what you plan to do or register for, you will still need to visit a registration hard point. However the WeChat account/state ID will allow users to log into an internet cafe, on-device registration, or even register a business.
It is an interesting concept and one that we have heard about before. For example in the past we have seen how some are considering turning driver licenses into a smartphone app as opposed to bringing the physical license with you everywhere you go.