The Growing Influence of WeChat

by Sarah Grotta 0

WeChat Pay

Tencent, the company that operates WeChat and WeChat Pay reported impressive earnings this week and attributes much of its growth to the success of some of its games, payment app WeChat Pay and a series of investments in tech firms.  Technode published a series of graphs and data points regarding the Chinese app that illustrates the enormous impact that WeChat and its namesake payment app has on China.  It’s impressive also in consideration that WeChat Pay has real competition for its services in rival Alipay.  It also provides an interesting contrast to U.S. based payment apps that are finding adoption much more elusive.  Some of the interesting facts provided:

In aggregate, WeChat makes for an outstanding share of total mobile traffic in China: 34.0%. In comparison, Facebook makes up for only 14.1% of mobile traffic in North America.

WeChat-driven consumption in traditional sectors of the economy has also been rising exponentially, rising 22.2% in 2017 to 333.9 billion RMB. (Approximately 52.4 billion USD)

Penetration of WeChat payment has been skyrocketing, especially for users under 18 years old where it reached an impressive 97.3% in 2017. For users over 60 years old, WeChat penetration reached 46.7%. Given this could be the first time these 2 groups of users have a smartphone, the penetration of WeChat Pay is very impressive.

Outside China, WeChat has also seen explosive growth in catering to Chinese tourists. In Japan, the number of stores receiving payments via WeChat Payment has been multiplied by 35 in 2017 only!

For those interested in the Asian payment apps and their influence, Mercator Advisory Group is publishing a report this week; Asian Mobile Payment Apps as a Way of Life.  Additionally, a podcast with Alipay’s Souheil Badran, President, Alipay Americas can be found on PaymentsJournal here.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group