China's most popular instant messaging app is trialling a feature in the province of Guangdong which lets couples kickstart divorce proceedings on their phones, without leaving the app.
- WeChat, China's most popular instant messaging app, now allows people to register for divorce.
- The function is being trialed in Guangdong province, but there are plans to it further.
- Take a look at how it works below.
People in China can now file for divorce on WeChat, the country's most popular instant messaging service.
The app rolled out a trial "divorce" functionality in Guangdong province, which is home to major cities including Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Couples who no longer want to be together can now make an appointment with their local divorce registration office under WeChat's new function, which was rolled out about two weeks ago.
We first noticed the new function via a tweet by Matthew Brennan, a WeChat expert living in China.
How it works
The left screen in the picture below shows the generic document home screen, which allows you to personal documents for all sorts of purposes.
Scroll further down, and under the subtitle "Marriage" is a function that says: "Make an appointment for divorce registration," as can be seen in the right screen.
The app then takes you to a page where you tell it whether you're currently living in China or somewhere else.
Then you can enter personal details of the people getting divorced, including names and addresses. Then you can make an appointment with the local divorce registrar.
Brennan, the WeChat expert, told Business Insider that making appointments was "pretty typical functionality that we find in WeChat."
He added: "It's also very typical that payments can also be handled directly through WeChat, although without going through the process, it's unclear if this is an option right now."
Filing for divorce is just one of WeChat's many new functions. Users in the province can also store driving permits and passport copies, and manage their tax documents. They can also apply for marriage licence.
Which such functions are only available to Guangdong citizens, WeChat's developer Tencent is aiming to roll them out across China in the future, Brennan told Business Insider.
The influence of WeChat, an app used by one billion active users worldwide, is growing in users' daily lives. Last year a judge in Nanjing, east China, called a woman on WeChat during court proceedings when she failed to turn up.