Tencent to expand WeChat's payment reach to 20 countries

Updated: 2015-11-21 09:28

By Ma Si(China Daily)

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Tencent to expand WeChat's payment reach to 20 countries

A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013. [Photot/Agencies]

Tencent Holdings Ltd is expanding its WeChat mobile payment system to stores in more than 20 countries to tap into the growing purchasing power of Chinese outbound tourists.

The social networking giant said on Thursday that foreign stores can apply to be part of its WeChat payment ecosystem as long as they have a trading license and a website or an application.

The move will enable Chinese outbound travelers to pay bills by scanning the quick-response codes on WeChat, which will partner with banks to automatically convert renminbi payments into a specific type of currency that foreign stores can accept.

Currently, the payment system supports transactions in nine currencies, including the euro, dollar, pound and yen. Dozens of companies such as RoyalPay Treadwell Partner Pty. Ltd, an Australian payment platform, are partnering with Tencent to offer the service in more than 20 countries and regions in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.

WeChat is the most popular messaging app in China. It has 650 million regular users and 60 percent of them are using its payment tool.

Last year, visitors from the Chinese mainland spent about $165 billion on international tourism, accounting for more than 10 percent of the global consumption abroad, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, a major rival of Tencent, is also expanding the international presence of its mobile payment tool Alipay. The e-commerce giant is offering similar services at more than 30,000 stores in South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, and plans to expand the figure to 1 million within the next five years.

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