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Will WeChat Pay head’s resignation impact the payment service?

Chinese tech giant Tencent announced on Wednesday that Wu Yi, the head of WeChat Pay, has resigned from his position for personal reasons.

Wu will join Fenqile, a micro-loans site that lends small sums of money to college students, as its president. In December in 2014, this startup landed USD 100 million in a round of financing led by DST followed by Bertlesmann, Matrix Partners China, China Renaissance, and K2 Ventures. It was founded by Xiao Wenjie, the former product director of Tenpay. Obviously, Wu and Xiao have a close relationship from their time together at Tenpay.

Wu joined Tencent in 2007, serving as the product director of Tencent’s third-party payment service provider Tenpay in its early period. In 2012, he led a team to launch WeChat Pay and promoted it online the next year. In 2014, he created digital red envelopes on WeChat, digitizing a traditional Chinese custom.

Wu Yi, the former head of WeChat Pay.

WeChat red envelopes helped WeChat Pay gain 200 million users by launching an interactive session during the 2015 Spring Festival Gala on China Central Television. This was a victorious moment for Wu and for WeChat Pay.

WeChat Pay and QQ Wallet are Tencent’s two weapons to maintain a solid stance in China’s mobile payment scene. QQ Wallet was launched in 2014, serving as a complementary online payment solution for WeChat Pay.

Tencent claims QQ has 860 million monthly active users with 640 million using smartphones as of last September. The company’s 2015 third quarter results said that WeChat has 650 million monthly active users. This makes the platform the world’s fourth most popular messaging app after WhatsApp, QQ Mobile and Facebook Messenger, according to statistics firm Statista.

At present, WeChat Pay has 300 million users, ranking second with 15.9% of the mobile payment market in China, following just behind Alibaba’s Alipay, which has 71.5% of the market share, according to internet data research firm Analysys.

It’s obvious that Alipay is the strongest rival of WeChat Pay.

Last month, Alibaba’s financial platform Ant Financial, which supports Alipay, landed USD 4.5 billion. This is reportedly the largest single round of financing in IT industry history, surpassing financing rounds for Didi Kuaidi, Uber and Facebook.

Recently, it was rumored that WeChat Pay is retreating from the mobile payment sector in the face of its strong rival Alipay. But the WeChat team has denied these rumors.

The new head of WeChat Pay is Zhang Ying, who joined Tencent in 2002 and has been responsible for the development of WeChat since 2014. It can be said that he is very familiar with every aspect of WeChat.

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