Chinese Internet giant Tencent has just announced that it will completely open the mobile payment service offered on its social messaging app WeChat to overseas transactions, making it much easier for outbound Chinese travellers to make purchases or pay bills.
According to Xinhua, the service will allow users to pay bills by scanning QR codes using WeChat, partnering with banks to automatically convert renminbi payments into the currencies that foreign stores can accept.
The system will support settlement in British pound, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Euro, New Zealand dollar and Korean won.
Dozens of companies are partnering with Tencent to offer the service in more than 20 countries and regions in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.
WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, has 650 million active users per month with 60 percent of them are using the payment service.
The move is clearly aimed at helping Tencent get in on the booming outbound tourism industry, as mainland tourists last year spent about $165 billion on international tourism, accounting for more than 10 percent of the global consumption abroad.
As far as we are concerned, this is the best feature addition to WeChat since Tencent allowed you to use their platform to rat out those caught in defiance of Beijing’s public smoking ban.
By Lucy Liu