WeChat Pay at Money 20/20: connecting payments and culture

Introducing Ashley Guo, Regional Director of WeChat Pay, Tencent Holdings, onto the stage, chair Louisa Bojesen first compared the dominant trends at Money 20/20 Asia 2018, compared with Money 20/20 EU, by way of two audience polls.

The audience gave the dominant trends at Money 20/20 EU, Amsterdam, as Open Banking, the rise of AI and identity, whereas the dominant trends at Money 20/20 Asia were blockchain and payments.

Beginning her presentation, entitled ‘WeChat Pay: Beyond Imagination’, Guo outlined WeChat Pay’s indomitable influence.

“WeChat Pay has transformed the digital world”, Guo said.

“We continue to shape the future of payments and commerce, bringing the new age of smart retail.”

Guo detailed the vast array of services WeChat Pay provides for Asian consumers, including messaging, calling, payments, P2P transfers, taxi hailing, food delivery, financial services and even the ability to book doctor’s appointments.

“WeChat Pay has been the No.1 most valued brand in Asia for the last four years,” Guo said.



Why is this? Guo explained the philosophy at the heart of WeChat Pay’s “interconnected smart galaxy.”

“What’s the most important thing in our daily lives? Love.”

Guo then demonstrated WeChat Pay’s integration of the ancient Chinese tradition of Hong Bao – the gifting of money to one another in a red envelope on Chinese New Year – into the WeChat Pay app.

Users either chose to gift money to specific phone contacts, or to random WeChat users across China, and released the money by shaking their phones. The aim was, Guo said, to “combine payment with local culture.”

A video presentation of the WeChat Hong Bao service received a round of applause from the audience – a deserved response to a remarkable example of WeChat Pay’s ability to integrate cultural behaviour into their “smart galaxy”, to become more than a social media or payments platform, and become part of their customer base’s personal lives.

The Hong Bao service helped WeChat Pay to get “massive adoption in mobile payments, and encourage users to use WeChat Pay in their daily lives”, Guo said.



Guo also detailed WeChat Pay’s Connect and Business Smart series, connecting consumers and businesses together in inventive ways, leveraging new tech solutions both online and instore.

WeChat Pay users can order goods and services from the likes of KFC and Longchamp within the app. Beauty products can be virtually applied to a user’s face through the use of AR and a mobile camera, allowing users to buy beauty products in a more effective and personalised way.

Guo also detailed the use of QR codes instore with the WeChat Pay app, allowing users to access product details, promotions and discounts.

“QR codes are virtually connecting everything”, Guo said. “They are an extension of your eyesight, a tool to help your user to connect with services.”

“The difference between traditional payments and WeChat payments”, Guo said, “is that the consumer paying is no longer the end of the relationship. In WeChat, it’s simply the beginning of the transaction, and the beginning of a relationship with the customer.”



Guo then described WeChat Pay’s cross border payments service, available in 40 countries, with 13 currencies, servicing 250,000 merchants in retail, transportation and travel.

“We believe in the value of a joint-effort ecosystem”, Guo said.

“All partners provide value to our users and create more opportunities for us to prosper together.”

“Many will say fintech is a disrupter of traditional industries”, Guo concluded.

“I say we bring change.”


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