Tencent Plans to Expand WeChat Payment System to 20 Countries
Tencent Holdings is planning to expand its WeChat mobile payment system to stores that are found in 20 countries in efforts to tap into the growing purchasing power of outbound Chinese tourists. The social networking giant said that foreign stores can submit applications to be part of the WeChat payment ecosystem as long as they have a trading license and a website or an application. This move will allow Chinese outbound travelers to pay their bills by scanning the quick response codes on WeChat that will parent up with banks that will automatically convert the renminbi into the type of currency that the foreign store uses.
The payment system currently supports transactions in nine currencies ranging from the Euro, pound, yen and dollar. Dozens of companies such as RoyalPay Treadwell Partner Pty. An Australian payment platform will be partnering with Tencent and offer the service in more than 20 countries and regions in Southeast Asia, North America, Australia and Europe. WeChat is one of the most popular messaging app in China and has 650 million users in which 60 percent are using its payment system. Last year visitors from the mainland spent $165 billion on international tourism or 10 percent of the global consumption abroad.
Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent’s major rival is also expanding its international presence of its mobile payment Alipay. Alibaba is offering similar services in more than 30,000 stores in South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore and is expanding the figure to a million in the next five years. a analyst from the Beijing based Internet consultancy, Analysys International stated that the intensified push of these companies is pitting themselves against China’s UnionPay the country’s biggest bank card processing provider. Mobile payment services are popular in China than in other countries due to its popularity of online to offline catering and movie ticketing, plus a number of Chinese consumers are starting to get used in making payments using their smartphones. This give Alibaba and Tencent the advantage in eating into the overseas market share of UnionPay.
The end of 2014 felt UnionPay presence felt in more than 150 countries as 13 million stores were accepting consumer payments through bank cards that was issued by the company. Although Alibaba and Tencent is working with overseas retailers for quite some time, retail store usage is still low and no obvious benefits of using WeChat or Alipay is seen as credit cards usually give discounts.