China's Tencent hints at huge WeChat mobile payment volumes

China's Tencent hints at huge WeChat mobile payment volumes

Chinese Web giant Tencent has given a glimpse of the huge amounts of money users send each other through its messaging app, WeChat, suggesting more than $550 billion could be delivered through the service this year.

Posting its fourth quarter financial results on Thursday, Tencent revealed that it pays a 0.1% transaction fee to banks every time one of the 697 million WeChat users send each other money through the app.

In January alone the company paid over 300 million yuan in these fees, suggesting that P2P transactions during the month totalled more than 300 billion yuan - about $46 billion.

As noted by Reuters, this puts WeChat on course to facilitate some $556 billion over the year, nearly twice as much as PayPal. And the figures do not take into account non-P2P WeChat payments such as taxis, online media and restaurant bills.

Digital payments are hugely popular in China, with WeChat rivalled by Alibaba's Alipay service, which Reuters says saw payments volumes of $519 billion in 2013. Outside firms - including Apple - are also entering the country, attempting to win a slice of the huge market.

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