What happened: Chinese internet giant Tencent and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol have jointly launched the first flagship WeChat Pay Smart Airport in Europe. Chinese tourists will soon be able to use WeChat to pay for goods in shops at Schiphol Airport, as well as to place orders and make purchases via the airport’s mini program. Coupons for preferred currency exchange rate and discounts will also be offered to WeChat Pay users at the airport.
Why it’s important: The move comes as Tencent’s messaging app expands its mobile wallet and cross-border payment business in Europe. Tencent stated in its 2019 first-quarter results that fintech and cloud computing helped offset weak revenue from its gaming business. WeChat’s payment wallet has been a key growth driver for Tencent’s fintech business. Chinese payment giants have been eager to cultivate an overseas presence as their home market becomes increasingly saturated. Ant Financial’s Alipay, WeChat Pay’s main rival, also made further inroads into Europe earlier this year as its expansion efforts face more challenges in the US amid escalating political tensions.