To date, 2017 has been a banner year for WeChat. China’s leading social platform continues to dominate the Chinese digital ecosystem with monthly active users growing to 938 million in the first quarter, up 23 per cent from Q1 2016. This growth has helped parent company Tencent reach record growth, reporting US$7.2 billion in revenue in the first three months of the year.
With record success at home, WeChat once again sets its sights on global expansion, partnering with Silicon-valley-based mobile payment startup Citcon to bring WeChat pay to the US. The partnership will effectively enable millions of American retailers to leverage the influx of Chinese travelers whose spending is expected to surpass $80 billion by 2020.
WeChat pay is now available in 15 different countries allowing users to make cashless payments in 12 different currencies. This represents a unique opportunity for overseas brands looking to court Chinese consumers by offering a seamless in-store shopping experience with participating retailers.
The Citcon partnership is a notable development for the Chinese tech giant. Earlier efforts by WeChat to expand into new markets have been largely fruitless, including large-scale marketing campaigns in Europe, India and South America. In 2013, WeChat recruited soccer superstar Lionel Messi for a series of TV and internet ads, yet failed to build a significant user base abroad.
This time around, rather than targeting western users directly, the latest approach will seek to expand WeChat’s global footprint by equipping Chinese travelers to the US with WeChat pay. It is a move that will surely incite American retailers to accelerate their WeChat marketing efforts and as well as serve to increase WeChat’s overseas visibility.
WeChat pay’s expansion into the US coincides with the recent announcement of an important new feature that enables users in China to synchronize WeChat moments with Facebook and Twitter.
This new feature seeks to leverage the greater Chinese diaspora, bringing WeChat to a new audience as users in mainland China share content with friends and family on Facebook.
Follow us on Facebook to obtain the latest news and information about digital marketing in China!