WeChat Pay playing catch-up with Alipay in overseas markets
In terms of duration and experience in the mobile payments industry, Alipay can be considered a veteran, having been in the market since 2004
. This has allowed Alipay to capitalize on significant first mover’s advantage in China as well as overseas markets. Established in 2013, WeChat Pay is nearly a decade younger than Alipay. However, in mainland China, WeChat Pay has rapidly caught up with Alipay in terms of usage, largely because WeChat Pay was able to creatively integrate mobile payment with its social networking tools
However, WeChat Pay is still lagging behind Alipay in overseas markets. Currently, Alipay is accepted in more than 120,000 stores
across 26 countries in Asia, Europe and North America. Alibaba in partnership with many big merchants around the globe, recently joint hands with Starbucks in Malaysia
to accept Alipay. By comparison, WeChat Pay is present in only 15 countries. While this can be explained by Alipay’s earlier foray into international markets, the question for WeChat Pay is how it can capture a slice of overseas markets.
A pivotal factor for Tencent’s success in the Chinese market is the domestic ecosystem built around its WeChat payment app. However, this factor is not present in overseas markets. In other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, users are more acquainted with Facebook, Kakao, Line and Whatsapp. This means that WeChat Pay is unable to capitalize on a community of users to crack open these markets as it had so successfully managed to do in China.
While both WeChat Pay and Alipay have relied on capturing a portion of the Chinese tourism industry, this strategy has not proven successful in terms of opening up local markets. The businesses that utilize the mobile payment solutions provided by Alipay and WeChat Pay have largely been confined to companies catering to Chinese tourists. In an earlier report
, it was highlighted that WeChat Pay has applied for a license to offer local payment services in Malaysia. Similarly, Alipay is now looking to launch a local e-wallet for Singapore consumers
If both measures are accepted by the Singapore and Malaysia authorities, this could prove to be a significant turning point for Alipay and WeChat Pay. For the first time, local users would be able to use the payment solutions provided by Alipay and WeChat Pay. Nonetheless, having the authorities’ approval to operate in a market alone does not automatically mean user adoption. Understanding the local markets is another issue altogether. This is why Alipay has invested in a number of local e-wallet and fintech startups including Mynt
(in the Philippines), HelloPay
(Singapore) and Ascend Money
(Thailand), to help ease Alipay into foreign markets.
Being a relative newcomer to the market, WeChat Pay has staked its claim in battlegrounds deemed important to its overseas expansion plans. For example, in Australia, WeChat Pay has teamed up with RoyalPay
. In Singapore, WeChat Pay has chosen our company FOMOPay to help ease WeChat Pay into the local market. Despite having to play catch up with Alipay, we are confident that WeChat Pay would be able to rival Alipay in other overseas markets, just as it had done so in mainland China.
About FOMO Pay Pte. Ltd
FOMO Pay is an authorized partner of WeChat Pay
, Alipay, UnionPay, Baidu Wallet & BestPay in Southeast Asia, and was selected as one of the Top 100 Asian Companies by E27, Top 100 Startups by Red Herring Asia, and Top 8 by DBS’ FinTech Accelerator Program, Top Fintech Startups in Singapore by Fintech Asia. FOMO Pay provides a one-stop solution for local merchants by facilitating payment collection from China market, including Chinese tourists. This comprises of online payment and in-store payment modes. FOMO Pay’s business solution serves clients from a wide range of industries, including the telecom, publishing, tourism and hospitality, F&B, education and retail industries.