Tencent’s WeChat Wallet service is now available to users in Hong Kong — just as Apple is working to release its mobile payment system in the city later this year.
Hong Kong users who are part of the pilot programme will be able to link their Hong Kong credit cards to the service and purchase items using the WeChat app including movie and flight tickets.
A source close to the company said it may take “several months” before the payment service is rolled out to all WeChat users in the city. However, local users of WeChat Wallet now lack full access to all the features enjoyed in mainland China. For example, Hong Kongers are not able to transfer money to friends within the app or make in-store payments by having the cashier scan a QR code on their smartphone in a convenience store. Also missing is the Red Packet function, which allows WeChat users in China to send an amount of money to a group chat that is either identically or randomly split among other users who open the virtual red packet.
A Tencent spokesperson declined to comment on whether these features will eventually be made available to users in Hong Kong.
WeChat has already rolled out its WeChat Wallet service in South Africa, its first international market, where users can send money to each other and pay for purchases on their mobile device at over 24.000 merchants in the country. The company also rolled out cross-border payments for WeChat users in China, which allows them to pay for purchases made overseas using WeChat Wallet.