Global remittances to China at heart of Visa-Tencent partnership  


Visa has revealed a new partnership with Tencent Financial Technology to unlock inbound remittances for users of Weixin – the Chinese alternative to messaging platform WhatsApp.

Tencent’s financial division will leverage the Visa Direct network to service Weixin’s customer base in mainland China, which currently stands at more than one billion users.

The collaboration will further speed up the adoption of digital wallets, which are one of the fastest-growing payment methods globally, expecting to surpass five billion users by 2026.

Digital wallets do not require account information inputs to receive funds, allowing for secure and frictionless payouts by only using the wallet’s ID or the recipient’s registered phone number. 

Shirley Yu, Group General Manager at Visa Greater China, commented: “Digital wallets as a receiving end point in cross-border transfers are growing rapidly. In 2021, cross-border transfers sent and received via digital wallets grew by 48%, reaching $16bn.

“Some of the world’s largest inbound remittance markets in the Asia Pacific region – including Greater China, India, the Philippines and Bangladesh – have the highest penetration of digital wallets, making wallets a critical receiving endpoint for cross-border remittance. 

“Wallets are also a crucial conduit for greater financial inclusion to reach populations that may not have access to traditional banking services.” 

The Visa Direct network will serve as a single point of access that will drive global money movement to Weixin accounts by facilitating connections with eligible cards, bank accounts and wallets.  

Together with Tenpay Global, which is Tencent Financial’s cross-border payments arm, Visa can direct global financial institutions to Weixin’s open ecosystem, further solidifying the messaging platform’s status as a preferred payment method in China. 

Royal Chen, Vice President of Tencent Financial Technology, added: “Our partnership with Visa is a significant step forward in fostering a new generation of global payment networks. 

“By connecting with Visa Direct’s client network of financial institutions, we can now seamlessly connect customers from these institutions to Weixin users from Visa Direct eligible markets. 

“The connection not only opens up Tencent’s own ecosystem while meeting compliance requirements, but also streamlines the work for our partners and bridges the gap between different financial ecosystems, making sending money as easy as sending a message.

“This synergy of specialised expertise and collaboration allows us to have the opportunity to create a new, open, diverse, and inclusive borderless payment network together.”