- TD Ameritrade is reportedly the first U.S. brokerage firm to partner with WeChat, according to a company announcement. The brokerage's U.S. account holders can use the app, which is run by Chinese internet giant Tencent, for investment research, data on capital markets and live customer service.
- WeChat, which has about 1 billion users worldwide, also lets people use its "shake" feature to discover educational materials from TD Ameritrade. WeChat users can open TD Ameritrade's "mini program," which is a sub-application inside the messaging app, to fill out an application for a TD Ameritrade account.
- Users can scan the mobile QR code to connect with TD Ameritrade on WeChat, and also connect with the firm through third-party platforms including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Apple Business Chat and Twitter direct messages, per the announcement.
TD Ameritrade first started working with WeChat in Hong Kong in August, and the rollout to the U.S. isn't likely to have a major impact on its business, considering that WeChat isn't very popular outside of China. Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp are the biggest third-party messaging apps in the U.S., while Apple's iMessage comes preinstalled on every iPhone. However, the partnership demonstrates the growing importance of WeChat, which has evolved from recording voice messages to a means of paying for purchases in stores and online, in the international marketplace.
Meanwhile, WeChat's mobile pay function vies with Alibaba's Alipay platform, which is also steadily gaining traction around the globe and beginning to raise competition among U.S.-based payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal.
While the TD Ameritrade partnership might not be a significant development on its own, it comes as Tencent works to bring other WeChat services to the U.S. to grow its global reach. That initiative includes WeChat Pay, as more Chinese tourists visit the country to sightsee and shop. WeChat last year partnered with Citcon, a U.S.-based mobile payment platform, to bring the service to North America. Last year, the U.S. was the most popular destination for Chinese tourists outside of Asia, according to a Nielsen survey cited by CNBC. Chinese tourists spent an average of $4,462 a person while visiting the country, more than in any other country, the study found. Plus, the moves are not just in the U.S.: 7-Eleven last week began accepting WeChat pay at select locations in Canada as part of WeChat's broader push to attract global consumers.