In the race between China’s two leading mobile wallets—Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay—to expand their users and merchants around the world, WeChat Pay is drawing even in Europe.
U.K.-based payments processor SafeCharge has partnered with Tencent’s WeChat enabling in-store payment with WeChat Pay for the first time at stores across Europe, according to a Thursday press release.
This helps WeChat gain ground against Alipay, which last year locked up several deals with banks and payments processors enabling its users to make in-store and online purchases from European merchants. In May, Alipay announced a deal to expand acceptance in the U.S. through a partnership with First Data.
WeChat’s 660 million users may now pay online and in stores through merchants integrated with SafeCharge, allowing Chinese tourists visiting Europe to pay in their own or local currency, SafeCharge said in the release.
Chinese air travel to Europe increased by about 20% in 2016, with travelers coming from China to Europe expected to hit 90 million by 2025, the release noted, citing recent data from Counter Intelligence.