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Get ready for a surge of mobile commerce in China as WeChat opens payments to businesses and retailers


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WeChat really could become THE mobile wallet for China:

Now it’s a case of waiting for retailers, ecommerce sites, and other companies to make use of it. Lots of big-name companies have WeChat service accounts – from McDonalds to Qunar, Starbucks to Xiaomi.

Tencent’s opening up of the purchasing system to brands will open up the possibility of other integration,notes the Tencent Tech blog today. That includes integration with other Tencent services such as daily deals, Dianping listings, and Tencent’s Yixun estore. However, it’s less clear how brands can make use of those things.

WeChat’s tie-up with a taxi app saw two million people pay for taxi rides in one busy day last month, so the scope is there for the messaging app to become a viable way for people to pay for things – both from home and while in-store.

This latest roll-out by WeChat is yet another threat to Tencent arch-rival Alibaba. The e-commerce titan wants its own ewallet app, Alipay, which has 100 million registered users, to remain China’s top epayment method. But WeChat, as a social app, is in a lot more people’s pockets than Alipay, and Tencent wants everyone to use it for far more than just chatting.

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