WeChat To Expand Into Europe

China's leading social media platform, WeChat, is starting to expand into the European market. The first country to see the platform's payment and ecommerce services arrive on its shores will be the UK, where companies will soon be able to use WeChat to sell to China. The European director of Tencent, which owns WeChat, said recently that there were also plans in place to “open up direct operations in other countries” which would begin in 2018. Countries expected to follow include France, Germany and Italy. Whilst WeChat can boast more than 800 million users, the majority of which are in China, analysts have warned that the company may struggle to find success overseas. Scott Likens, from PwC, says that the business model “that works in China does not work outside China”. However, WeChat is altering is approach slightly, by focusing on allowing small and medium sized businesses to access the Chinese market through its ecommerce platform, something which it has successfully done in Italy since 2016. Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight, commented that Tencent had been clever in its approach to retail by “focusing on brand partners”.