Tencent applies for licence to offer local payment services in M'sia

The company is also rolling out support for Hong Kong users to get paid out in United States dollars without currency conversion to local, USD-denominated bank accounts.

Stripe also announced its launch in Hong Kong on the same day.

There are various payments firms out there like Stripe, competitor Square and PayPal spring immediately to mind, so this is a big deal for the U.S. firm.It gives them a vital advantage over competitors at a time when Chinese consumers are keen to shop more and more from the west. "Demand for services from Chinese consumers is at all-time high", Souheil Badran, president of Alipay for North America, said.

A Chinese customer prepares to pay with WeChat Pay in Bangkok, Thailand. Licenses for such cross-border payments differ from those required for local payment services. Hong Kong is now the only location outside mainland China where WeChat Pay and Alipay offer payment services executed entirely in the local currency.

WeChat Pay, along with Weixin, are part of Tencent, with WeChat Pay alone having more than 600 million active users.

"By deepening our existing partnership with Alipay, and launching a new partnership with WeChat Pay, we're enabling businesses to easily access the once-impenetrable Chinese market, and in the manner Chinese consumers prefer", said John Collison, Stripe's president and co-founder of Stripe, in a statement.

Stripe unveiled a partnership deal with two of China's biggest digital payment services, giving the San Francisco-based startup access to hundreds of millions of Chinese customers. WeChat Pay support will also be available in private beta.

China's consumer market is massive, clocking about US$750 billion worth of sales in 2016.

"Active users of WeChat Pay and [our] market share have increased impressively", said Yin.

Yin said there is no timeline to offer local payment services to more overseas countries, but said "nothing is impossible". The average spending per Chinese tourist is around €3,000.

Vanessa Coleman

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