By William Lee
Did You Know that WeChat Pay will be launch in Malaysia this year and it is the first country outside of China where local residents get to use the service?
Tencent, the company behind WeChat Pay, has obtained an e-payment license to operate in Malaysia.
Users in Malaysia will be able to link their local bank accounts to WeChat Pay and pay for goods and services in Ringgit.
At the time of announcing the application for the license, the company explained that the choice of Malaysia as the first overseas market stemming from the fact that “Malaysia has a large Chinese community”. In 2016, about 24 percent of Malaysia’s population was Chinese, according to the Malaysian Statistics Bureau. Malaysia has one of the highest network penetration rate among Asia countries, with about a third of its people using e-commerce for shopping.
Malaysia has more than 20 million WeChat users and the local market is very welcoming towards Internet products from China.
Hong Kong is currently the only location outside mainland China where WeChat Pay and Alipay offer the local payment service – for local transactions denominated in Hong Kong dollars.
But it won’t be an easy task for Tencent as Alibaba’s Alipay, a similar e-wallet service that allows cashless transactions, has made its debut into Malaysia in June last year. Alipay has partnered with Maybank, CIMB, Genting and Public Bank to introduce cashless payment via the e-wallet. However, Alipay is currently available for tourists visiting from China only.
Tencent has surpassed Facebook in terms of market value just a day after it became the first Asian technology firm to reach the USD500 billion valuation mark. Expect to see more development of mobile payment in ASEAN as Alipay & WeChat Pay are also extending their reach to Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam.
Do you think WeChat Pay will be well received by Malaysians?