The increase in Tencent’s revenues in Fintech in 2018 was driven by its take-rate on commercial transactions collected from merchants, cash withdrawal fees and credit card repayment charges collected from users, and the service fees from financial institutions for the distribution of FinTech products such as WeiLiDai and the wealth management products on our LiCaiTong platform.
In January 2019, Tencent completed the transition to the centralized clearing and settlement system and moved all custodian cash to the accounts of the People’s Bank of China.
WeChat Pay launched a new user interface enabling easier access to new features including virtual subsidiary cards for parents and children. It enhanced account management tools for merchants, including cash register, book-keeping, and revenue sharing settlement functions.
WeChat users grew further to 1.098 billion as of December 2018.
The total daily payment transaction volume exceeded 1 billion for 2018, driven by rapid growth in commercial payments, which represented more than half of the number of transactions. The commercial payment revenue more than doubled year-on-year in 2018. The payment platform connects with tens of millions of merchants and monthly active merchants increased over 80% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Tencent boosted its payment penetration in the food and retail industries thanks to features such as Mini Programs and Scan-to-Pay solution in 2018.
In Hong Kong, Tencent launched the first-of-its-kind cross-border mobile payment service in October 2018, which enables WeChat Pay Hong Kong users to conduct RMB-denominated transactions funded by Hong Kong dollars.
Tencent’s cross-border mobile payment service now covers approximately 1 million merchants in Mainland China, including taxi-hailing, food ordering, and highspeed railway ticketing services. The transaction volume of WeChat Pay Hong Kong increased more than 10 times year-on-year.
Tencent launched WeChat Pay Malaysia services in August, offering online transactions such as mobile credit top-ups, flight and bus ticket purchases, and offline transactions at retail outlets, such as supermarkets, fashion and beauty stores.
Globally, Tencent is expanding our footprint by supporting China outbound travelers to make cross-border payments in overseas destinations, and it now offers real-time tax refund services for Weixin Pay users in over 80 airports. Weixin Pay is now available in 49 markets outside Mainland China, supporting cross-border payment transactions in 16 currencies.
Building on its payment user base, Tencent offers FinTech services to under-served consumers, conveniently and at low cost. LiCaiTong, the wealth management platform, helped manage over 600 billion yuan of customer assets as of the end of 2018.
WeBank, Tencent associated online banking business, achieved rapid growth in the outstanding loan balance of its micro-loan product for consumers, WeiLiDai. WeBank also expanded its loan services to enterprises, serving the financing needs for small and micro businesses customers through WeiYeDai.
LiCaiTong enlarged its user base, reaching 100 million accumulated users by the end of 2018. Tencent expanded its FinTech services by rolling out LingQianTong, which enables users to invest the unused cash balance in their WeChat Pay accounts in funds.