Tencent will step up its efforts to expand its payment service WeChat Pay to the U.S., an executive at the Chinese technology giant told CNBC, hinting at more merchants coming on board later this year.
WeChat Pay allows users to show stores a barcode on their smartphone via the Tencent-owned WeChat messaging app. The shop scans the barcode, allowing a user to pay for an item or service with a Chinese bank account. WeChat has over 1 billion users and around 800 million of them use the WeChat Pay function.
Tencent has focused on expanding the payments service abroad, but it has stopped short of trying to create a local version of WeChat for other countries. Instead, the company has been focused on signing up merchants in many countries to accept WeChat Pay so Chinese tourists can use the payments platform abroad.
And Tencent is gearing up to announce that many more stores in the U.S. will accept WeChat Pay later this year.
"(The) U.S. is also a market we are focused on now ... after July you will see a lot of merchants will accept WeChat Pay in U.S.," Yin Jie, director of cross-border operation at WeChat Pay, told CNBC in an interview that aired on TV on Thursday.
"Actually now ... in the airport and in some duty free shops, they already accept WeChat Pay … because (the) U.S. is a really big country and has a lot of merchants. We need to do it step by step," she said.
Citcon, a mobile payments platform based in the United States, last year announced that it teamed with WeChat to bring WeChat Pay to North America. Tencent emphasized to CNBC this week that it does not have an exclusive partnership with any company.