Chinese Internet giant Tencent rolled out an update to its mobile messaging app Weixin (users outside of China get a version of the app known as WeChat) last month to add payment services, and now users can pay via the chat app when they get a drink from its dedicated vending machines located across Beijing.
According to Tencent Tech (first spotted by Tech in Asia), there are now 300 Weixin vending machines scattered across multiple subway stations in China’s capital city. When Weixin users pay for their drink via the app, they get it at a discounted price of CNY1 (16 cents).
Each Weixin user only has two chances to purchase the discounted drink, and the promotion will last only until October 12.
Tencent is also reportedly finalizing its online-to-offline collaboration with merchants, which will see large chain restaurants get on board to let Weixin users pay with the app.
Tencent has been seeking ways to monetize its wildly popular chat app without compromising user experience — and incorporating payment options is a clever solution, seeing as users may appreciate the convenience of paying for various services via an app they use daily. All users have to do is link an online banking account to Weixin to pay for items (Tencent’s payment service Tenpay will do the necessary backend work) and they are good to go.
The issue of security, however, is a matter that Tencent may have to address further down the road when its Weixin payment service gathers full speed with the participation of more merchants.