Chinese tech giant Tencent expands its presence in Singapore with WeChat/Weixin Pay as Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted
Per CNBC report, Chinese multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate and holding company Tencent has partnered with Singapore businesses, including ride-hailing app Grab, to expand its media and payment services to the region.
Adding Tencent’s digital messaging app, WeChat/Weixin, that also has a function of a digital wallet to Grab’s functionality will greatly facilitate travelling for Chinese tourists, as the economy finally reopens after long lockdown.
The app currently has about 1.3 million users, providing instant messaging and social media services, as well as a digital wallet capability. Weixin is a localised app version for mainland China, while all other regions know the service as WeChat.
In December 2022, Grab launched a “mini-program” within the Weixin app which allows users to book its ride-hailing services in Southeast Asia directly through Tencent’s platform. This option also gives Chinese tourists the ability to pay via WeChat/Weixin Pay in Chinese yuan.
Besides Grab, Weixin is cooperating with the Singapore Tourism Board on an updated version of a mini-program MeetSG, targeting Chinese business travellers to Singapore. Previously, separate cities such as Las Vegas and Hangzhou have developed similar programs with Weixin. However, Singapore remains the first and only country to have made such an arrangement.
Recognized as the favourite payment choice for the Chinese community across the globe, Weixin Pay serves as the primary gateway for tourists to seamlessly return to their pre-pandemic habits. Singapore Tourism Board expects a full recovery to pre-pandemic travel levels in 2024. In 2019, Singapore hosted over 3.6 million Chinese tourists annually.
Chain department store Metro Singapore launched a Weixin mini-program in November 2022 to enable online shopping. In September 2022, Weixin Pay launched a campaign to help nearly 10,000 hawker stalls – food market merchants unique to Singapore’s culture – to accept digital payments with a fast, cashless and contactless mobile payment experience.