China-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. intends to launch its popular payment service WeChat Pay in Israel, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke with Calcalist on conditions of anonymity. The company was in talks with a local clearing company and is considering the strategy for the local launch of the service, intended for tourists coming from China, one of these people said.
For daily updates, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.
Tencent has yet to reply to Calcalist’s request for comment.
WeChat Pay is a digital wallet service introduced by Tencent’s messaging and social media platform WeChat. AliPay, WeChat Pay’s main competitor in China, began offering its services to Chinese tourists visiting Israel in January. Alipay is owned by Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.
Economic ties between the countries brought on a sharp increase in the numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Israel in recent years. In 2017, 114,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel, an increase of 41% from 2016, according to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
Israeli exports to China surpassed $2.8 billion in the first half of 2018, accounting for 8.7% of all Israeli exports, according to data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
Last week, Vice President of the People's Republic of China Wang Qishan made a historic state visit to Israel, becoming the most senior Chinese official to visit the country in well over a decade. The Chinese vice president co-hosted a summit on Israeli Innovation in Tel Aviv. Alibaba Group co-founder and chairman Jack Ma was another keynote at the summit.