While other Internet companies are struggling to find new ways to expand their markets, Tencent is barreling its way through the competition and even expanding overseas with its mobile chat app Weixin (WeChat).
The Shenzhen-based Internet behemoth is now planning to tap its 780 million users in the next few years to gain more revenue, as it is ready to introduce an international payment system to the mix with an American Express deal that will surely grab the attention of Chinese consumers. The best part? It will be integrated with Weixin.
Tencent plans to rollout payments on the Weixin platform within the next two months, according to Tencent’s TenPay (财付通) GM Lai Zhiming. Given that Weixin recently passed over 200 million users, Lai Zhiming hopes that the social circle of Weixin will spread the payment system “virally” as it is implemented.
Much in the spirit of AliPay or PayPal (in the US), TenPay is Tencent’s online payments platform. As of November 19th (Monday), they have entered into an agreement with American Express to allow customers to buy products from overseas merchants that accept AMEX. For the moment their current objective is to expand the size and stability of their customer base, and Mr. Lai claims that “transaction size for now is not the most urgent” consideration.
As Mr. Lai describes it, Weixin presents a number of opportunities for payment systems because of its social function and the fact that SMS is more “sticky” than such channels as Tencent’s QQ. It has social, mobile, entertainment and business elements that add a great deal of value to the experience, he says. And users are taking notice.
This is an important step for Tencent, whose Weixin (WeChat) app is already making its way overseas with an English version that integrate with Facebook. With a transfer of their QQ user-base to mobile, and with the further adoption of smartphones by Chinese users, Weixin is set to skyrocket in the next year or two, and it will not be long before they find further avenues for monetization.
TenPay has been around since 2005, and it reportedly boasts an average transaction volume of 1.2 billion RMB per day. The company has a registered capital of 500 million RMB, which is 95% invested by Tencent.
It looks like the sky is the limit for Tencent. In only 433 days after its launch, Weixin reached 100 million users, which is 4-5 times the speed of Twitter and Facebook. Now it has over 200 million users. Where will they go next?