Tencent’s Weixin, or WeChat for English speakers, is the monolithic Chinese messaging/video chat/social network/shopping/payments app for iOS, Android and Windows smartphones, the web and desktop. WeChat is currently used by 846 million users each month in China and by Chinese locals abroad.
It was recently announced that Starbucks has joined WeChat’s payments family, which includes other major brands, such as KFC, Disney and fashion retailer Uniqlo, among others. Now, WeChat users will be able to pay for Starbucks via WeChat’s payments. As of now, well over 300 million users have linked bank cards with WeChat or QQ, another Tencent service, said Bloomberg.
Beginning yesterday (Dec. 8), Starbucks customers are able to use WeChat Pay at the near 2,500 Starbucks locations across China. And to think, Starbucks only launched its own mobile payment option in China in July of this year.
Starbucks also has plans to cooperate with WeChat to create an integrated social gifting feature on the app, which will allow Chinese users to instantly gift Starbucks to their WeChat contacts.
Belinda Wong, CEO of Starbucks China, said in a statement: “Starbucks and Tencent share similar values to enable greater human connections through our respective products and services, and I am pleased to partner with an established and respected social and mobile industry leader in China.”
“This new strategic partnership will leverage the strengths of both Starbucks and WeChat to create a true online-to-offline social gifting platform that will deepen our engagement with our customers in a unique and powerful way. Just as Starbucks cards are among the most gifted around the globe, we aspire to also become the most gifted brand digitally in China.”
The global caffeine giant further plans to expand the number of Starbucks locations in mainland China by a whopping 5,000 in the next five years (which is like … 2.7 new stores per day) as part of a 12,000-store worldwide expansion effort.