Messaging app WeChat is heavily focused on the take-up of its wallet technology in South Africa this year, says the app’s head of Africa Brett Loubser. WeChat is owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent. The Chinese-built app has differentiated itself by enabling the development of apps within its ecosystem, such as local delivery service Picup, and payment technologies.
In November last year, WeChat South Africa launched its wallet tech, which allows electronic cash transfers and the ability to transact via cards verified by Visa and MasterCard. This month, WeChat South Africa has partnered with Stuff Magazine to allow readers of the print title to buy featured Incredible Connection products by scanning a QR code via the app.
The Stuff-WeChat tie-up is part of a wider focus of driving up demand for the messaging app’s payment technologies in South Africa, Loubser said. Depending on how the Stuff-WeChat partnership does, the use of WeChat’s wallet technology could be applied to other magazines, newspapers and online publications.
Globally, WeChat has over 700 million users. Owing to company policies, WeChat’s Loubser said he is unable to provide user numbers for the service in South Africa. But researchers last year said that WeChat in 2015 had over 5 million users in the country at that stage. WeChat South Africa forms part of multinational media and internet giant Naspers.