The Strategist

Chinese WeChat to enlarge its footprint in Europe

03/31/2017 - 14:46

Chinese messenger WeChat intends to expand its business in Europe by opening an office in the UK. Currently, the company is negotiating with European brands offering premium products and fashionable clothes, as well as payment organizations.

Sinchen.Lin via flickr
Sinchen.Lin via flickr
In an interview with Bloomberg, Tencent Europe's director Andrea Ghizzoni said: "We had to take steps towards servicing European brands."

The company, which office is already open in Italy, began recruiting staff to work in a London office and in another European city. "We are negotiating with various payment institutions in Europe to integrate them into WeChat", Ghizzoni told the news agency. 

WeChat payment business is on the rise in China. In December, the average daily number of transactions reached $ 600 million. Last year, the figure was $ 469 million. This is a huge amount, considering that number of smartphones in China is only one-third bigger. Moreover, volume of online payments through the Internet amounted to $ 2.8 trillion in China in 2016, which is by 0.4 trillion more than in 2015. However, volume of payments through mobile applications for the same period increased by 2 times, reaching a figure of $ 5.5 trillion.

WeChat regards The UK as a strategically important springboard due to attractiveness of this country for Chinese tourists and high level of development of the mobile payment market.

In general, 54% of Europeans make mobile payments on a regular basis. This figure was 18% just a year ago. In 2015, almost 38% of European residents said that not only did they not use such a financial instrument for making payments, but they also do not plan to do this in the future. Today, number of these "skeptics" amounts to only 12%.

Denmark and Sweden citizens are the most active users of contactless payments sphere. As for other European countries, the highest percentage of "contactless" users is observed in Romania, one of the most "unfavorable" European countries in terms of economic development. New payment services are launched in all European countries. Moreover, the era of completely new gadgets, such as smart bracelets, smart watches and, oddly enough, smart clothes, begins. There’s no doubt that this trend will be developing rapidly.