The Chinese free messaging app WeChat from Tencent Holdings Ltd, China’s largest listed Internet company seems to be cracking new ways of monetization. After revealing its integration plans with China Merchants Bank to provide financial features to the customers, the messaging app has enabled online transactions for selected merchants by linking a payment service.
The news that was reported by Xinhua states that the new feature was launched from the beginning of June and the company has worked with few registered corporate accounts to make online shopping viable. It has been also confirmed by the company that WeChat does all back-end technical integration and support for these vendors, including page design and payment linkups. The payment options that have been provided are credit cards, online banking or TenPay, the company’s third-party payment platform.
Corporate names like McDonalds is one of the first companies to open an online channel via WeChat. The fast food chain has decided to avail offers for its followers. For instance followers of McDonalds public account may pay three yuan ($0.49) for an afternoon tea discount coupon, and transactions are completed under the WeChat framework.
Road ahead for WeChat in China
Going further Tencent plans to introduce mobile social games on WeChat and introduce micro-payments for services like taxis, among other measures to make money off the application. A thought that was expressed by the company head Pony Ma while speaking at the sidelines of this year’s session of the National People’s Congress. Revenue generation has been the focus but it won’t be at the cost of the user experience on the free messaging app.
WeChat, the messaging app which has more than 300 million users globally and out of which 50 million are from outside China has been working on interesting ways to avail new features to users and also create new sources of revenue. As said earlier the app has integrated with CBS and in the pipeline are features like voice-text-service and providing real time details based on the location details of the customers.
The latest move by Tencent to go for online payments via the mobile app is actually its long cherished dream to push ecommerce in the similar direction. Though the push would not be at the cost of user experience. Tencent neither wants to charge for the app nor wants to bombard users with intrusive advertisements like Weibo has done. Sina Corp, which owns micro-blogging service Weibo, has recently launched an online payment service in a bid to transform its heavy web traffic into revenue amid increasing competition. However the move backfired because the methods adopted were killing the user experience on the platform.
Indeed WeChat is at an exciting crossroad, where it is not only adding up its user base but also building on cool features leading to newer revenue sources.
Image courtesy: Bloomberg