Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has replaced Ant Financial’s Alipay with Tencent Holdings’ (HKG: 0700) WeChat Pay in its stores in Western China.
Walmart has entered into a partnership with Tencent that will enable customers to use WeChat Pay at its stores in provinces like Sichuan, Yunnan, and Gansu, a company spokeswoman told Reuters. WeChat Pay is a quick-read (QR) code based payment app associated with Tencent’s popular social messaging solution WeChat.
WeChat Pay had around 600 million active users in July 2017, CNBC reported. WeChat had over one billion users Tencent CEO Pony Ma boasted at China’s National People Congress on 5 March 2018, Technode reported.
Will WeChat Pay Join Walmart Pay?
News stories did not say whether WeChat Pay will be integrated with Walmart’s QR-code based payment app Walmart Pay. Walmart Pay is one of the fastest growing payment solutions in the United States.
QR code payment solutions communicate with cash registers and ATMs by using a phone’s camera to read a code. This makes them more versatile and theoretically more secure than near field communications (NFC) apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay that use a wireless signal to communicate with ATMs and cash registers.
Reuters did not say if Walmart will start taking WeChat Pay outside of China. Walmart’s stores in the United States are already accepting QR code solutions such as Walmart Pay and Chase Pay.
The Walmart/WeChat Pay deal represents a defeat for Ant Financial. Ant Financial is the Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) spinoff that operates Alipay. Alipay started as a payment mechanism for Alibaba but now operates independently.
WeChat Launches SMS shopping Platform
WeChat itself is planning to enter e-commerce with the beta test of a new shopping platform that will be embedded in WeChat’s social messaging solution (SMS), TechNode reported.
The platform called WeShop allows merchants to set up stores on the platform using the weshop.com domain. WeChat has already attracted 50,000 merchants to its platform, TechNode claimed. Major participants in WeChat include the fashion retailer Meili and JD.Com.
News stories did not say if WeShop will be rolled out outside of the People’s Republic. WeShop has the potential to reach a vast market because it might bring e-commerce to hundreds of millions of people in developing nations who lack computers but own smartphones. A combination of WeShop and WeChat Pay has the potential to evolve into an e-commerce ecosystem that would rival those of Alibaba and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) in size and scope.