October 6, 2016 / 10:47 AM / 10 months ago

Thai Kasikornbank, WeChat tie up for payment services to Chinese tourists

BANGKOK, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Thailand's Kasikornbank Pcl said on Thursday it has formed an alliance with Tencent Holdings' popular mobile messaging app WeChat to provide electronic payment services to Chinese visitors in the Southeast Asian country.

The Chinese are the largest group of visitors to Thailand, which has seen a steady increase in Chinese tourists in recent years. WeChat has about 800 million users globally.

Kasikornbank's electronic payments services via WeChat Pay can be accessed at more than 200,000 points in the country, Noppawan Jermhansa, executive vice president at Thailand's fourth-largest lender by assets, said in a statement. The service is expected to be started this month, the bank said.

Last week, Thai e-commerce firm Asset Bright Pcl formed an alliance with WeChat to offer e-payment services and targeted the 8 million Chinese tourists visiting Thailand annually with estimated spending of about 420 billion baht ($12.05 billion) a year.

Kasikornbank's research arm expects about 9 million Chinese tourists this year, up 13.4 percent from last year, and forecasts that Thailand will remain the top destination for Chinese visitors over the next three years. ($1 = 34.8500 baht) (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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