Apple and Tencent have reached an agreement to allow tip-style gifts to again be sent through WeChat, a messaging application that boasts nearly 1 billion users. While the specific date for reintroduction of tipping was not given, the “feature with Chinese characteristics” has been the subject of discussions between the companies for months.
Tencent previously allowed WeChat users on iOS to send gifts to WeChat public account holders, a Chinese way of rewarding stars and video content producers directly for entertaining people. In April 2017, Apple attempted to treat the tips as in-app purchases, subject to the company’s standard 30 percent cut of the transaction amount. Tencent responded by disabling the feature, claiming that it passed the gifts directly to the recipient, and was providing the service for free.
At a WeChat developers conference in Guangzhou, WeChat creator Allen Zhang said that the platform will be tweaked to pay the tip directly to recipients without WeChat serving as an intermediary, suggesting that Apple has been removed from the tipping loop. Further details have not been disclosed; we have reached out to both companies and will update this article if we hear back.