WeChat Pay ‘will not seek to offer more local payment wallets’

WeChat Pay to keep overseas focus on outbound tourism instead of offering more local wallets — South China Morning Post — “Tencent’s WeChat Pay said it will not seek to offer more local payment wallets to overseas customers over the next three years and will remain focused on serving outbound Chinese tourists better in popular overseas destinations… ‘In mainland China we have millions of users so we can make WeChat Pay into a successful payments tool… We don’t have many WeChat users in overseas countries so we should accept that it will be hard to develop payment tools for them.’”


Chinese mobile payments providers begin charging fees to users

Tencent’s WeChat widens service fee for users of ‘card repay’ feature in digital wallet — South China Morning Post — “In line with international practice, there are no free financial services. WeChat previously paid the credit card repayment fee for users, going forward the new fee chargeable to customers will support sustainable development [of the service],” said a Tencent spokesman in response to a request for comment.”


Chinese consumers have now deposited $150bn with Alipay and Tencent

PBOC to raise reserve funds ratio for third-party payment firms to 100% — Caixin — “The two largest third-party payment firms, Alipay and Tenpay, combined hold nearly 1tn yuan (US$151bn) of customers’ funds, about 90% of the total reserve funds… Reserve funds are prepayments from online shoppers held temporarily by payment companies that can then earn income on the cash by depositing it in banks or even buying government bonds… The requirement means payment firms such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd backed Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Tenpay can no longer invest money deposited by their respective clients.”


Hong Kong to be global battlefront for mobile payments?

A payments battle is brewing in Hong Kong — Bloomberg — “Alipay’s azure blue logos began appearing two years ago in Hong Kong’s airport, greeting travelers from China who rely on the popular payments app back home. In recent months, taxis got them. Now stores and boutiques have them. They’re all signs of a battle brewing in Hong Kong that will test whether a Western-style financial system — based on banks, credit and debit cards — can fend off a pair of apps that have come to dominate how people spend and send money throughout China. If Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat Pay can expand into the city and win new customers there, why not in Europe and the US, too?”


China goes live with QR payments spending cap

China caps store mobile payments at $80 — Nikkei Asian Review — “The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, implemented the caps on Sunday for different types of QR code payments, based on relative risk. For payments made by scanning a printed QR code displayed by the seller, the daily limit is set at 500 yuan (about US$80)… Such popular services as Alibaba Group Holding’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay are affected.”


768m Chinese used WeChat to send a red packet money gift this New Year

WeChat red packet users record new high during lunar New Year holiday — Xinhua — “About 768 million people used the service during the holiday, rising 10% compared with last year’s holiday… Someone from the east Chinese city of Nanchang was the luckiest user, receiving 3,429 red packets, while one generous user from west China’s Chongqing Municipality gave 2,723 red packets.”


Chinese mobile payment platforms are now used by 527m people

China’s mobile payment users hit 527 million in 2017 — ECNS — “China had a total of 527m mobile payment users at the end of last year, up by 57.8m from a year before… WeChat Pay, one of China’s major mobile payment service providers, attracted over 800m validated users by September 2017. The number of monthly offline payments was 280% higher than that from a year ago… Alipay, the online payment platform under ecommerce giant Alibaba, launched in 36 overseas destinations, benefiting hundreds of thousands of merchants. Overseas transactions surged by 306% in the last year when compared with 2016.”


Tencent opens up WeChat Pay to overseas credit card holders

WeChat Pay now allows users to bind overseas credit cards — Technode — “Expats living in China and residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan — places where WeChat is ambitiously expanding its user base — can now bind and activate WeChat Pay accounts with credit card services provided by MasterCard, Visa, and JCB… This is the first time users are able to use WeChat Pay without having a Chinese bank account or credit card.”


WeChat opens unmanned store in Shanghai

WeChat opens its first unmanned store in Shanghai — ECNS — “Shoppers need to scan a QR code with their WeChat app to enter the store. Sensors at the exit detect the shopper’s selections and automatically charge their WeChat wallet when they go through a ‘payment door’… WeChat payment industry operations director Bai Zhenjie said it takes less than 0.1 seconds for a customer to pay a bill. He added that facial and image recognition technology may be adopted in the store in the future.”


Chinese government teams up with WeChat to offer digital social security cards

China’s social security system turns to WeChat for electronic ID — South China Morning Post — “Government trials in 26 cities will have Tencent’s WeChat replace traditional state-issued social security cards with digital version tied to users’ accounts… The WeChat-based electronic social security cards will enable users to provide their identification, status, payment records and other relevant information to official online inquiries about benefits and insurance coverage.”


Guangzhou pilot lets consumers use WeChat to create an official digital ID

WeChat poised to become China’s official electronic ID system — South China Morning Post — “The WeChat ID programme was co-developed by the research institute of the Ministry of Public Security and Tencent’s WeChat team, and supported by various banks and several other government departments. The project is expected to help deter online identity theft, as facial recognition technology is used to verify applicants before their virtual ID cards get authorised. Those verified will be able to use their WeChat ID to register in hotels and apply for government services without the need of bringing their physical ID cards.”


China UnionPay launches mobile wallet app

UnionPay takes mobile payment services fight to Alibaba and Tencent with integrated app — South China Morning Post — “UnionPay said the app could be linked to more than one bank account by different banks with all of their mobile payment services accepted and conducted via the platform… The country’s dominant bank card clearing service provider also launched a nationwide promotional campaign with aggressive discounts to attract consumers who have been increasingly using Alipay and Tenpay services for shopping.”


Hong Kong transit operator to test WeChat Pay and Alipay

Contactless competition: WeChat Pay is coming to Hong Kong’s MTR, and Alipay may not be far behind — South China Morning Post — “Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR will soon be given a new quick payment option as the railway operator has partnered with the mainland’s second-largest mobile payment provider WeChat Pay, it announced on Thursday. WeChat Pay’s main rival, Alipay, said it would follow suit in the ‘near future’… While the initiative arguably benefits mainland tourists more than Hongkongers, it breaks a 20-year stronghold by the contactless Octopus card on how train fares can be paid for.”





China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate

China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate — Financial Times — “China’s central bank has ordered online payment groups to operate through a centralised clearing house, a move likely to undercut the dominance of Ant Financial and Tencent by forcing them to share valuable transaction data with competitors… The latest PBoC instructions require all payment companies to connect to the clearing house by October 15 and to channel all payments through it by June 30.”


Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants

Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants — South China Morning Post — “Tencent, the Chinese company, over Chinese New Year, in five days processed 46 billion payments. Basically that means 800 million payments per hour. Visa has a maximum capacity of processing 25,000 payments per second. But Alipay can process 50,000 payments, twice as much, per second.”



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