Married couples in China are now able to file for divorce on Tencent’s WeChat, the country’s equivalent of Facebook Messenger.
The service, which was rolled out last month, started its trial in Guangdong Province.
The option to “make an appointment for divorce registration” is found under the subtitle “marriage” in a documents page within the app.
Prospective applicants must then enter their location and personal details, such as the names and addresses of those planning to get divorced.
Speaking to Business Insider, Matthew Brennan, a WeChat expert, said that Tencent plans to roll out the feature across China. He added that making appointments through the app is “pretty typical.”
“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,” Brennan said.
At 35%, Guangdong’s city of Guangzhou ranks fourth on China’s divorce rates, following Beijing (39%), Shanghai (38%) and Shenzhen (36.25%), as per state reports.
In a commentary, John Sinclair, a University of Melbourne professor who has researched on China’s new media, told The Beijinger:
“In the same way as popular culture has expanded enormously as new technologies of communication have become available, this divorce filing affordance would indicate that there is, or even has been, an unfulfilled demand for such a service.
“And if there is such demand, then that suggests social changes are underway, in the form of more pressures on marriage, and a realization that options are available — on the mobile phone, even — for people in unhappy marriages.”
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