Tencent Holdings Ltd. temporarily suspended sign-ups of new accounts on its flagship WeChat social media application in China as the country tightens regulations for technology companies.
Tencent said it was conducting a technical upgrade to align it with new laws and, while this process is being carried out, registration of new Weixin (WeChat's China-language application) personal and official accounts had been temporarily put on hold, reports said.
"We are currently upgrading our security technology to align with all relevant laws and regulations," Reuters quoted Tencent as saying in a statement.
Registration services, Tencent said, "will be restored after the upgrade is complete, which is expected in early August."
The government is stepping up scrutiny over technology companies because of privacy and security concerns.
Weixin is one of the most used mobile applications in China, with more than 1.2 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter, according to Nikkei Asia.
On top of its core instant messaging function, Weixin provides an array of services from online payment to financing.
China's soon-to-be enforced personal information protection law, the country's first legislation dedicated to data privacy, will introduce more restrictions on how companies handle personal data.
In May, the country's cybersecurity watchdog ordered software engineers of 33 mobile applications to comply with privacy policies or face penalties after collecting data without user consent.
Earlier this month, the cybersecurity regulator ordered ride-hailing company application Didi to stop signing up new users over claims it mishandled customer data.
The regulator said any companies holding data on more than 1 million customers would be required to get approval before seeking an overseas initial public offering.
China's market watchdog blocked earlier this month Tencent's plan to consolidate Huya and Douyu International Holdings, China's two largest video game livestreaming platforms.