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Cultural Disparities Shape Global Payment Solutions, Says Tencent VP



When it comes to establishing a business or introducing a technological product, recognizing the demographics you are targeting becomes crucial. This is because various cultures have distinct interactions with different products. 

In the context of digital payment progress, cultural disparities play a significant role in the global implementation of payment solutions.

Royal Chen, Vice-President of Tencent Financial Technology, shared this perspective during the recent Annual Meeting of the New Champions organized by the World Economic Forum in China. 

He observed that Tencent has been involved in the development and implementation of payment solutions across China and various regions worldwide. Through this experience, he became aware of the cultural differences in global payment practices.

He shared an example of how female Filipino health workers in Hong Kong have utilized a new payment system developed by Tencent to facilitate remittances to their families back home.

Royal also mentioned that Tencent has created user-friendly systems for Chinese nationals working abroad to manage their remittances. For instance, they have integrated with popular social media platforms like WeChat, widely used by Chinese individuals globally.

The power of QR code and audio payment system

The Vice-President also mentioned that Tencent has successfully integrated QR codes into its payment system in China, leveraging its cultural uniqueness. 

This approach is cost-effective for users and can be used both on social media platforms and in physical shops, even by those with limited technical knowledge. “We have more than 10 million merchants connected to our QR code payment system,” he stated.

Furthermore, in addition to the functionality of the QR code payment system, Royal explained that Tencent introduced a stereo payment structure. 

This feature allows market women and busy business owners to receive an audio signal when a customer makes a payment while they are attending to other customers. He further revealed that the company intends to make this feature available to other international payment providers.

With the development of newer systems, it is important for regulators and innovators worldwide to consider cultural differences when implementing new payment systems for users. He noted that “cultures and behaviors must be respected in the global development of digital payments.”

Harmonizing the global payment system

During the session, Ning Xuanfeng, Senior Partner at King & Wood Mallesons, emphasized the importance of data privacy in ensuring proper interconnection of the global payment system. He highlighted the need to understand who has access to user data and how it is utilized.

The varying implementation of data privacy regulations across different regions may pose challenges to an efficient collaboration between different payment systems and laws, including traditional currency systems and emerging technologies like blockchain, stablecoins, and crypto.

Additionally, Royal emphasized the significance of creating payment systems that are open for international institutions to seamlessly integrate and participate in. Tencent aims to develop a cross-border payment system that is as convenient as sending text messages.

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