Chinese internet-based technology and service company Tencent has partnered with Finnish digital signature and data management developer Avaintec. Helsinki Business Hub supported the collaboration. Together the two companies have brought Tencent’s WeChat Pay to Finland, offering the rapidly growing number of Chinese visitors a safe, familiar and convenient way to pay for their purchases. WeChat Pay allows Finnish businesses to serve their Chinese customers better – and to improve their sales while doing so.
When Chinese visitors want to buy souvenirs for example from a Moomin Shop in Helsinki or from the Arctic Circle Tourist Information in Rovaniemi, they can now pay with a mobile application that is quick, easy and already familiar to them: WeChat Pay. Mobile payment apps are already challenging cash in China, as Chinese consumers find them safer and more convenient. The Chinese also prefer smartphone payment apps while travelling abroad, and the ability to offer this option can really benefit retailers.
WeChat Pay is the leading mobile pay platform in China, with more than 800 million monthly active users and over 1 billion daily transactions on average in 2018. Along with the rapid development of the Chinese economy, more and more Chinese tourists travel abroad, and WeChat Pay collaborates with local merchants to meet their needs. With WeChat Pay, users can make payments quickly and conveniently in their own currency by simply scanning a QR code, without having to exchange money or withdraw cash.
“In my opinion, for companies like Tencent, Finland and the Nordic area is a rapidly growing tourism market, and Finland is also a convenient shortcut between China and the rest of Europe,” says Service Manager Jie Guo from Avaintec.
A natural partnership
“Avaintec joined Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s delegation, when he visited China in 2017. During that same visit, Avaintec and Tencent signed a letter of intent to collaborate in the development of WeChat Pay in Finland and in the other Nordic countries. The collaboration is in line with Avaintec’s interest in expanding its business to new markets and new business sectors. We also have strong tech experience in this area,” Jie Guo says.
Helsinki Business Hub and Visit Finland continued to support the collaboration, hosted Tencent’s delegation in Helsinki, and helped access retailers and promote WeChat Pay in Finland. After about a year of development and testing, Avaintec launched WeChat Pay in Finland in the beginning of 2019.
“Helsinki Business Hub helps foreign companies find the right local partner for a soft landing in Finland. We are really looking forward to continuing our cooperation with Helsinki Business Hub in the future,” says Jie Guo.
From Helsinki to the Nordics
Currently, most of the Finnish retailers using WeChat Pay are located in the Helsinki area and in Rovaniemi, which are popular travel destinations among Chinese visitors.
“The majority of WeChat Pay business users operate in Finnish design retail and in the travel industry. In addition to Moomin Shops and the Arctic Circle Tourist Information in Santa Claus Village, many other types of businesses also offer WeChat Pay. Any business – whether a shop, a restaurant or another type of company – interested in reaching the Chinese consumer market is welcome to apply to use WeChat Pay,” says Jie Guo.
The benefits of reaching and providing excellent service to this consumer group grow daily along with the number of Chinese visitors. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of Chinese tourists in Finland grew by 63%, and the average Chinese visitor spent more than 1,200 euros during their trip. The future of services like WeChat Pay looks bright.
“We are working on extending WeChat Pay to cover all of Finland. Our future plans also include expanding the service to the other Nordic countries,” Jie Guo says.