WeChat is planning to launch a UPI app, likely called WeChat Pay, by the end of May-June. It is in the process of obtaining a payments license, reports Entrackr. The report adds that the Chinese parent of WeChat, Tencent, has partnered with Axis Bank, HDFC and ICICI, and would like to create its own UPI handle. In China, WeChat Pay can be used to pay for utilities and financial transactions and works like a wallet. Users of WeChat get a payment account by default. However, in India, WeChat itself has failed to take off (see here and here). In India, WeChat Pay will compete with established digital wallets like Paytm, MobiKwik, Google Pay, which is now testing offline retail payments, BHIM and more. WeChat’s parent company Tencent is an investor in the messaging app Hike, which also started offering payments from 2017. In India, Tencent’s investments are across the board, some of which include Dream11, Gaana, Ola, Byju’s and Flipkart. Interestingly, earlier this week, Chinese company Xiaomi launched Mi Pay, its UPI payment app, for Xiaomi smartphone users in India. Note that WhatsApp hasn't yet been allowed to launch payments in India, and is still in beta mode. WeChat’s India history WeChat launched in India in 2012 in partnership with Ibibo. At the time, Tencent had a 20% stake in ibibo (MIH India), and Naspers 80%, which was restructured in 2013. In 2013, the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) proposed a ban on WeChat, citing concerns of national security. In response…
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