Over 600,000 Chinese tourists visited Canada in 2016, according to a Destination Canada press release from earlier this year. Going forward, it is likely this number will continue to grow, with many Canadian merchants wondering how they can tap into this large Chinese market.
WeChat, with close to 1 billion monthly active users globally, offers a tourism industry solution and came to Canada for the first time earlier this month, sharing its “China Ready” strategy for local businesses by introducing its leading social communication service WeChat and the mobile cross border payment solution WeChat Pay. WeChat’s series of seminars, hosted at Cineplex Markham VIP, CN Tower, and Sheraton Vancouver, attracted 800 attendees from over 400 Canadian companies.
With the introduction of WeChat and WeChat Pay, WeChat creates new ways to target and market to Chinese consumers more effectively. Many invited guests from different industries were also excited to learn more about the implementation of WeChat’s moment Ads and other functions. In 2017 WeChat launched an innovative solution for global merchants to provide service in Mini Program, which is an app-like service over WeChat that can be opened instantly and does not require users to download the full app.
“The tourism industry is committed to educating the community about the growing Chinese market, with China being one of the fastest growing tourism markets in Toronto. We welcomed 300,000 travellers from Chinalast year, so introducing product like WeChat to Toronto helps cater to the growing Chinese market, giving businesses a better understanding of what customers want,” said Johanne Belanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto.”With many of Richmond’s residents and overseas tourists already familiar and comfortable with the app, the seminar hosted by WeChat could not be more relevant to our members and the local business community. There are big opportunities for Canadian businesses as WeChat moves further into the North American market,” said Matt Pitcairn, President & CEO, Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
WeChat Pay has quickly grown nationwide and enabled thousands of clients in just half a year. This has enabled Canadian merchants to reach out to Chinese tourists before they arrive and keep in touch after they leave. “With the implementation of WeChat Pay, which is very easy to use and cost effective, our customers in areas with large Chinese populations are very happy that we accept it. It’s a great financial processing tool and we look forward to the opportunity to layer it with a marketing element. It’s something we’ve never seen before,” said Haigo Derian, president of L’ORO Jewelry.
“Feedback from clients provides helpful information which helps lift them through barriers to business. We will be working on future initiatives to bring more versatile social media solutions to allow merchants to reach out to this market,” said Jason Pan, GM of iTalkBB Media Corp, which runs media, ads and marketing in Canada. He is one of many who are optimistic about the opportunities brought to Canada by WeChat.