Nearly ubiquitous in China with around 900 million users, WeChat is extending its e-commerce and payment reach. For brands, offering online payment through the popular messaging app is a more enticing proposition than opening WeChat stores, according to L2’s new report on WeChat.

More than half of CPG and prestige beauty labels offer WeChat Pay through at least one of their e-commerce channels, with CPG brands especially likely to link to JD.com — indicating that WeChat payment is becoming more important for brands than operating a standalone WeChat store. No more than a quarter of brands in any sector have opted to open a WeChat-specific online store, either through a third party or a WeChat mini-app, according to L2’s report. Brands can still offer commerce on their WeChat accounts through a link to their mobile site store or JD.com store and allow users to pay with WeChat’s payment method.

Brands have approached WeChat-specific commerce with varying levels of commitment. Estée Lauder went all-in on its WeChat store, including shoppable links whenever it mentions products in articles published on the platform. Other brands are opting to experiment with limited-time, one-off sales on the platform. For last year’s Qixi Festival, luxury brands including Valentino and Chloé sold a limited number of special-edition handbags only available on WeChat.

Fashion remains the most limited sector for both WeChat shop and payment adoption, but both WeChat and JD.com are trying to make inroads. In January, JD.com announced a new joint venture with Chinese fashion e-tailer Meili that will make use of JD.com’s first-level entry point through WeChat’s payment section, offering JD.com logistics for orders placed through the new platform.

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