12/05/17 14:44 BST
by Hot Pot Digital

Know China Now: Alipay Expands to US, WeChat’s New QR Codes and Electric Cars

With more than 846 million daily active users, China boasts more smartphone users than the USA, Brazil and Indonesia combined, with an unprecedented rate of adoption and change in the digital sphere.

Each week Hot Pot Digital’s Know China Now blog keeps brand marketers informed on digital, social, mobile and ecommerce trends in the most exciting consumer market in the world.

WeChat launches separate QR codes for Mini Programmes

What is it?

  • WeChat has launched a completely new QR code for Mini Programmes – if you’re unsure of Mini Programmes, read Hot Pot’s explanation here
  • They are customisable to the brand/ function that is being promoted, as with the KFC QR code pictured
  • Otherwise, the QR codes functionality is exactly the same as a standard QR code – but this customisation is exclusive to Mini Programmes

 

Why do I need to know?

  • Tencent is issuing various new updates to Mini Programmes of late, a move that will spike Mini Programmes usage at least for the short-term, while users play around with new features
  • WeChat has been forging its own path unlike Western platforms, but this new functionality is a feature Snapchat and Facebook have used for some time

Alipay Extends into the US and Italy

What is it?

  • Alipay –owned by Alibaba – has recently signed deals to enable the payment system’s penetration in the US and Italy
  • The deal with allow Alipay users to shop at 4 million U.S. merchants served by First Data Corp
  • In Italy, UniCard is the payment supporter – and will make Alipay available at 120,000 merchants
  • Chinese tourists will now be able to purchase goods by simply scanning a barcode on their phones, a payment method they are accustomed to at home

Why do I need to know? 

  • The First Data deal is expected to place Alipay in the same league as Apple Pay – which can be used in 4.5 million locations in the US – in terms of acceptance
  • That said, the US is much less reliant on mobile transactions than China – transactions amounted to $112 billion in the US in 2016, compared to the huge $5.5 trillion in China for the same year
  • Italy’s luxury sector is expected to profit the most from the introduction, whereas the US is predicted to be more widespread

 

Automakers charge ahead with electrics in China

What is it?

  • China’s auto industry is continuing in its pursuit of electrifying cars
  • With supportive government policies, sales of green energy cars have risen dramatically resulting in China leading the market globally in this segment

Why do I need to know?

  • They still make up less than 2% of China’s overall auto market of 28 million vehicles sold in 2016
  • With government backed initiatives, China’s market for electric cars is set to increase enormously