Chinese messaging company WeChat recently announced it has launched WeChat Pay, its digital payment service, in Italy.
According to a Monday (Jan. 22) report in Telecompaper, WeChat inked a deal with Digital Retex, which helps retailers integrate with WeChat services, and Docomo Digital, the European unit of digital payment company NTT Docomo, to enable Chinese tourists to make purchases in Italy via WeChat Pay. Chinese travelers will be able to use the offering in physical stores and online via the firm's smartphone app.
The report noted WeChat Pay is hoping to find inroads with all retailers, but has a particular focus on those that are high-end or designers as they represent approximately 60 percent of Chinese purchases. Italian merchants can either implement a dedicated point of sale terminal or add WeChat Pay to their existing systems.
The launch of WeChat Pay in Italy comes as the company is looking to expand into markets outside of China. BNP Paribas, the European bank, announced news last fall that it would be introducing the Chinese mobile payment solution to retailers in France and subsequently across Europe. In a press release, BNP Paribas said the move would support retailers seeking to attract Chinese consumers.
According to the European bank, nearly 7.4 million Chinese tourists visit Europe each year. With the WeChat Pay addition, BNP Paribas said it is moving ahead with its goal to enable retailers to offer international clients a better shopping experience. More than 600 million Chinese consumers use WeChat Pay, and the mobile payments platform was expected to first be rolled out to two Paris stores owned by the Galeries Lafayette group — Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV MARAIS.
BNP Paribas isn’t the only company with intent to embrace WeChat Pay, however. Tech giant Apple is also utilizing the mobile wallet, giving consumers in China more ways to pay for purchases.