Public-listed Hong Leong Bank (HLB), which offers Islamic banking products, has partnered with Tencent’s local WeChat Pay as a master merchant acquirer, enabling merchants and individual users to transact with WeChat Pay for the first time in Malaysia in the local currency, paving the way for Malaysia to be the first country, outside of China and Hong Kong, to be able to make payments in the local currency.
As a result of the partnership, customers of the bank can start binding their debit cards to WeChat Wallet and use WeChat Pay as an alternative payment option, joining the giant mobile payment’s 900 million active monthly users worldwide. This development follows an earlier collaboration between HLB and Tencent in November 2017 to provide WeChat Pay solutions for online and offline digital payments from retail merchants in Malaysia with a cross-border payment solution, enabling Chinese tourists to pay using their WeChat accounts seamlessly when visiting Malaysia.
“When we took the step to become a merchant acquirer for WeChat Pay in Malaysia, we were not only looking to expand the payment ecosystem to enable our Malaysian merchants to cater to the Chinese tourists market. We were also gearing up our merchant acquisition strategy to prepare for the day when WeChat Pay is available in the local currency, so that our customers and WeChat users in Malaysia are able to use this payment option with a large number of merchants already signing up for the WeChat Pay facility,” commented Domenic Fuda, HLB’s group managing director and CEO.
This is but one of several digital initiatives by the bank in recent months. Earlier in August, HLB opened its first digital branch in the state of Penang. In July, it introduced a suite of digital business solutions powered by five business tools – HL ConnectFirst Lite, Biztory (an e-accounting and invoicing software solution), Kakitangan (an online human resource platform), SimpleTax (a digital sales and services tax and income tax advisory tool) and Digital Advert (an outdoor digital advertising service provider) to empower SMEs, a business segment largely serviced by its Islamic banking arm.
“Our new digital business solutions are further testament of our commitment to being ‘digital at the core’ where we continuously redefine our offerings to give our customers the ultimate banking experience and supporting the needs of the SME business community segment beyond banking,” said Terrence Teoh, the head of group SME banking, of HLB.