China’s largest messaging app, WeChat, announced on Wednesday that it has expanded the usage of e-CNY payments for transactions on its short video and mini-app platforms.
This covers merchants ranging from small influencers to businesses promoting products on WeChat.
WeChat, the Tencent-owned messenger, is a massive empire that far outperforms WhatsApp and Messenger.
It has its own payment system, WeChat Pay; it supports millions of third-party lite apps, making it a competitor to the App Store; it has a short video network that competes for eyeball time with Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese version; and a slew of other features that could easily be standalone apps — but Asia loves super apps.
According to Tencent, WeChat mini apps would generate several trillion RMB in transaction value by 2022.
Today’s update expands on the e-CNY payment option, which WeChat has previously supported since early last year. According to WeChat’s announcement, only shops who accept e-CNY will be able to accept payments in the central bank’s digital currency.
While the central bank has established a network of e-CNY payment gateways for online and offline merchants throughout China, WeChat Pay and its rival Alipay, Alibaba’s linked payments mechanism, remain the most widely used digital payment methods.
The central bank regulator has stated unequivocally that the digital yuan is not intended to compete with the two payment behemoths. Rather, it is intended to serve as a supplement.
The anonymity of digital yuan is relative and only pertains to the parties involved in the transaction. Before utilising the wallet, digital yuan users must verify their genuine identities, much like any other online service in China. They must link their real-name confirmed central bank wallet to WeChat Pay in order to utilise e-CNY on WeChat, which also authenticates their identities.