WeChat Pay is integrating with the Adyen global payments platform as of today. The move will allow WeChat customers to make payments in thousands more brick-and-mortar stores around the world. Alipay and Union Pay are already on the platform which has Facebook, Uber, Netflix, and Spotify as clients.

Amsterdam-based Adyen is a payments processing platform. Similar to WorldPay and PayPal it allows retailers–whether on- or offline–to receive payments in multiple formats such as credit cards, debit cards, and e-wallets. Last year it integrated WeChat into its online payments offering. However, as so much of Chinese overseas online spending being channeled through the likes of Alibaba and JD platforms, capturing the face-to-face transactions of traveling Chinese could prove more lucrative.

Today’s integration will allow merchants to take WeChat payments at their tills. Only around 10% of Chinese tourists prefer to use cash and cards for payments when overseas which suggests the possible uptake of the service. Enabling WeChat Pay transactions in more retail settings could also help capture the smaller-scale transactions for which WeChat tends to be the go-to at home. Offering WeChat also allows merchants to offer coupons which have been proving popular among Chinese shoppers overseas.

WeChat Pay has been catching up with market leader Alipay. Data shows WeChat is on track to surpass Alipay. Alipay has not released figures for the amount it processes since 2013 ($519 billion at the time) and estimates suggest Tencent processed around $550 billion in 2015 through WeChat.

Both figures put the $90 billion Adyen processed worldwide in 2016 into perspective. But Tencent’s push abroad for WeChat and WeChat Pay, with Malaysia expected to be the first overseas territory to allow local users to link their bank accounts to the app, could mean more and more similar deals as the battle for Chinese (e) wallets goes global.

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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