WeChat looks to con­nect with NYC

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By HONG XIAO in New York xiao­hong@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

China’s “app for ev­ery­thing” spread its mes­sage in New York on Tues­day.

As a lead­ing so­cial net­work and In­ter­net plat­form with global reach, Ten­cent’s WeChat is look­ing to ful­fill the in­creas­ing needs of China’s out­bound tourists.

Some 300 Amer­i­can busi­ness­peo­ple from tourism-re­lated in­dus­tries in the Greater New York area at­tended a sem­i­nar to in­tro­duce the mul­ti­func­tional app to lo­cal mer­chants who serve the grow­ing numbers of Chi­nese tourists.

If there is a term that could de­scribe the su­per app, you can­not find a bet­ter match than WeChat.” Ea­gle Yi, WeChat ex­ec­u­tive

“The whole China com­mu­nity is al­ready in­volved in mobile in­ter­net, even faster than the United States,” said Ea­gle Yi, di­rec­tor of WeChat Pay and WeChat Mar­ket­ing.

With more than 963 mil­lion ac­tive users and 600 mil­lion WeChat Pay trans­ac­tions daily, “Chi­nese peo­ple use WeChat in daily work­ing, study­ing and en­ter­tain­ing,” Yi said.

“If there is a term that could de­scribe the su­per app, you can­not find a bet­ter match than WeChat,” Yi added.

Now with the grow­ing num­ber of Chi­nese out­bound tourists — in 2016, more than 120 mil­lion Chi­nese tourists trav­eled out­side of China — WeChat is as­pir­ing to ex­pand its net­work to fol­low those in­trepid voyagers.

“We want to be seen as a fa­cil­ity to help you build the bridge and to pro­vide the best ser­vice pos­si­ble to our out­bound tourists and tourists around the world,” said Sherry Xie, se­nior busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager for Ten­cent.

Yi also in­tro­duced WeChat Pay­ment, a dig­i­tal wal­let ser­vice that al­lows users to make mobile pay­ments and send money be­tween contacts.

“For WeChat Pay­ment, it has be­come a part of the so­cial me­dia net­work, and over 1 mil­lion stores al­ready are con­nected and sup­port WeChat Pay in China,” Yi said.

Ac­cord­ing to Yi, be­cause WeChat doesn’t have the au­thor­ity to process fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions in the United States, “we are work­ing with our au­tho­rized pay­ment ser­vice providers, who can legally con­duct money trans­fers work­ing with lo­cal mer­chants here”, he said.

“I knew a lit­tle bit of WeChat be­cause I did live in China for sev­eral years,” said Joel Ward, gen­eral man­ager of New York Wheel LLC, a tourist at­trac­tion be­ing built on Staten Is­land.

“As we think of tourists be­ing a lot of groups com­ing over, but the FIT (for­eign in­de­pen­dent tourists) trav­el­ers are such an im­por­tant part of this mar­ket, par­tic­u­larly with WeChat, that al­low­ing them to pay through WeChat Pay, it’s go­ing to be a huge ben­e­fit to the tourism busi­ness here,” Ward said.

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