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Tencent to expand its US payment footprint

WeChat Pay, which reached 600 million active users in 2017, will soon be made available in the United States.

"(The) U.S. is also a market we are focused on now ... after July you will see a lot of merchants will accept WeChat Pay in U.S.," said Yin Jie, director of cross-border operation at WeChat Pay. In their endeavor, Tencent partnered with Citcon, an American mobile payments platform, last year.

The mobile payment service allows users to pay in-store by showing a QR barcode on their smartphone. The store then scans the code, letting the customer pay either with their Chinese bank account, Visa, MasterCard or JCB card.

Tencent, the owner of WeChat, has been focusing on expanding its payment service abroad. It has yet, however, to create a local version of WeChat for other countries. The company has been onboarding merchants popular among Chinese tourists in countries were WeChat Pay is accepted.

In that sense, entering the American market is a must for the company. Outside of Asia, the United States was the most popular destination for Chinese tourists in 2017, according to a survey by Nielsen. Chinese tourists spent on average $4,462 per person while on vacation in the U.S., more than they did in any other country or region visited.

WeChat is world’s largest standalone mobile app, with over 1 billion monthly active users. It acts as a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app.