Chinese messaging app WeChat is looking to grow its business in Europe, opening an office in the UK and holding talks with European luxury and fashion brands and payments institutions.
Tencent-owned WeChat's ambitions mirror the efforts of Alibaba's AliPay to support Chinese consumers shopping overseas, cutting deals with retailers and POS providers to accommodate the brand at the checkout.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Tencent Europe director Andrea Ghizzoni, says: “We needed to make a step closer in serving European brands.”
The company, which already has an office in Italy, is currently hiring staff to open a London base and in one other European location.
“We are talking to different payments institutions in Europe,” Ghizzoni told the wire service “in order to integrate them into WeChat.”
The UK is viewed as a high-profile destination because of its allure to Chinese travellers and well-developed mobile payments market.
In China, WeChat's payments business is on a tear, with average daily transactions among its 889 million users topping 600 million a day in December.