ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

WeChat Pay spreads to North America with latest partnership

Tencent’s WeChat, China’s leading mobile social communications service, has its sights set on North America with a new partnership that will set up mobile payments infrastructure to accept its WeChat Pay service on the continent.

As the first payment partner of WeChat in North America, Citcon (an integrated mobile payment and marketing platform that connects global merchants with Chinese consumers) will enable millions of businesses to accept WeChat Pay, which is already one of China’s most popular mobile payment methods in a country that touts unprecedented mobile payments uptake.

WeChat Pay
Citcon will help to facilitate merchants to be able to accept WeChat Pay via its smartPOS, API and software products through rates comparable to credit card processing. In addition to the convenient payment solutions, merchants will also be able to manage business performance and customer insights, run marketing campaigns, guides users to merchants’ ecommerce stores while saving their shopping preferences for future visits and manage lifetime customer loyalty programs.

It is more than likely that the integration will initially be aimed at the influx of Chinese tourists vacationing in North America: For four consecutive years, China has been the world number one outbound tourism country, accounting for over 13% of the total tourism revenue globally, and the U.S. has been one of the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers. In 2020, five million Chinese travelers are expected to spend $80 billion in the United States.

One of China’s top apps
The majority of consumers in China use WeChat’s mobile messaging application as their sole source for interaction with brands, daily tasks and communication with others, and marketers are learning how to leverage this to their advantage and recreate these tactics overseas. The expansion of WeChat Pay is doubtless one of these tactics, meant both to directly challenge Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, and to challenge messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger by proxy (see story).

And with 2016 being host to many revelations in mobile payments, expect 2017 to be a banner year for the platform, as well. Penetration has become so widespread that PayPal is adding a new feature to its services with the ability for consumers to pay bills through the company’s payment service after its acquisition of TIO Networks (see story).