Australian prime minister's WeChat account was taken over and renamed by a Chinese tech firm which said it bought the page because of its large fanbase: report

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Australian prime minister's WeChat account was taken over and renamed by a Chinese tech firm which said it bought the page because of its large fanbase: report
Australian PM Scott Morrison's WeChat account was taken over by a tech company in China, per Reuters.Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
  • Scott Morrison's WeChat account was taken over and renamed by a Chinese tech firm, per Reuters.
  • The tech firm told Reuters it didn't know the account was previously connected to Morrison.
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's WeChat account was taken over by a small Chinese technology company which said it bought the page because of its large fanbase, Reuters reported.

Morrison's account was renamed "Australia China New Life" in January by Fuzhou 985 Technology which told Reuters that it wasn't aware the page was previously connected to the prime minister.

The account, which had a picture of Morrison in the profile picture, was used to post information about the PM's policies in Mandarin for Australian voters who were of Chinese ethnic origin, according to Reuters.

Reuters reported that a Fuzhou 985 Technology employee with the surname Huang said the company decided to buy the account because of its large fanbase of 76,000 followers, per the publication and Sydney's The Daily Telegraph.

Huang told Reuters that the tech firm was looking to buy a WeChat account which had a large amount of followers from the Chinese community in Australia.

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The employee said that Fuzhou 985 Technology planned to delete the previous posts on the account but was waiting for WeChat owner Tencent's final reply on the matter.

Huang declined to tell Reuters how much the firm had paid to take over the account.

Tencent and the Australian department of the prime minister and cabinet didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comments.

Tencent said in a statement to Reuters that the situation appeared to be a "dispute over account ownership," adding that the account was first registered by a Chinese individual and was then transferred to the tech firm.

Morrison lost access to the WeChat page in July, two sources told Reuters, who requested to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation. The agency in charge of the PM's account contacted WeChat on January 10 asking for the account to be returned but the company hasn't yet replied, the sources said.

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