WECHAT PAY, an innovative mobile payment system from the Chinese messaging app WeChat, has finally reached Italy. This system stands as a valid and convenient alternative to cash payment, credit cards and home-banking services, allowing customers to pay retailers by simply scanning a QR code with the phone camera: one simply needs to link a bank account or a credit card to the app.

This service is already wide spread in China, where it is used on a daily basis to buy all sorts of goods and services, on e-Commerce platforms as well as in traditional shops: today, the number of daily users of Tencent’s app amount to roughly a billion, while transactions made through WeChat Pay are beyond one million per minute.

The WECHAT PAY system introduction in Italy has been possible thanks to the agreement between Digital Retex (the official WeChat partner in Europe) and DOCOMO Digital. As the Global Head of Sales and e-Commerce of DOCOMO Digital Ludovic des Garets has said, this operation aims to “give Chinese customers the same shopping experience of their native country”. Besides, the Tencent European Senior Manager, and WeChat Italia Country Director, Andrea Ghizzoni, and the Retex Managing Director, Fausto Caprini had already announced in October that the WECHATPAY service would  reach Italy.

Now that day has come! In the following weeks, the first Italian retailers will be allowed to use it in their shops, making shopping for Chinese tourists that come in Italy immediate and easy.

For now, the service is meant only for Chinese tourists and business-men who come to Italy. Indeed, the need for the service to have a Chinese bank account to be linked to the virtual “wallet” may be a possible disadvantage for the 280 thousand Chinese regularly living in Italy and for Italian customers.

The service is meant for all kind of shops: fashion, luxury and design (from which almost the 60% of Chinese purchases are made) and also for entertainment and touristic services (restaurant, hotels, museums and theme parks). Moreover, the number of potential users is quite high: according to the 2016 report from Istat-Confturismo, 3,879,000 Chinese tourists arrived in Italy, which may rise to 20,8 million per year within the next five years, as forecast by the China Tourism Academy.

This does not mean that, in the near future, the service may not be extended to everyone, so as to allow users to link Italian bank accounts and credit cards to their WeChat Pay, and thus its utilization for both Italians and foreigners living in the country.

To allow their customers to pay with this new service, retailers must provide a dedicated POS or add WeChat Pay as an accepted payment method to their register. The transaction is made in Chinese currency for the buyer, while the retailer will receive the corresponding amount in euros.

D’Andrea & Partners wishes you a pleasant stay in Italy. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@dandreapartners.com.