Today in the Connected Economy: TikTok Begins ‘Major’ Push Into Gaming –

Today in the connected economy, TikTok begins testing a program that lets users in Vietnam play video games on the app, part of a broader push into gaming.
Also, Elon Musk says his version of Twitter will look a lot like Chinese super app WeChat, and Meta’s WhatsApp offers a new tool to attract more business owners.
Report: TikTok Tests Gaming in Vietnam as Part of Broader Push
TikTok has begun testing a program that lets users in Vietnam can play games on the video-sharing app, the company’s first step in an apparently a “major push” into gaming, according to a Reuters report.
Adding games to the popular social media platform would boost both its ad revenue and the time users spend with the app, which has more than a billion active monthly users.
TikTok is reportedly also working on plans to offer games throughout Southeast Asia, with sources telling Reuters the games could be released in the third quarter of this year.
WhatsApp Offers Cloud-Based API to Businesses
Meta Platforms will add free cloud-based API services to its WhatsApp messenger in a move designed to bring more businesses to the platform.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the plan at the company’s “Conversations” event, saying it would mean “any business or developer can easily access our service, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and speed up their response time to customers by using our secure WhatsApp Cloud API hosted by Meta.”
Meta said businesses won’t be able to contact people using WhatsApp unless those people have asked to be contacted. The social media giant also plans to roll out optional paid features for its small-business-focused app.
Musk: My Twitter Would Be WeChat-Style Super App with Payments Key
If and when he’s able to purchase Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has envisioned a future for the platform where it becomes a super app.
Speaking this week on the All-In podcast, the world’s wealthiest man said his version of Twitter would combine the social aspect with features such as chat, picture and video messaging, Facebook-style news feeds, and a payments function. He cited Chinese social media giant WeChat as a model for his ambitions.
“If you’re in China, you kind of live on WeChat,” he said. “It does everything — sort of like Twitter, plus PayPal, plus a whole bunch of things…with a great interface. It’s really an excellent app, and we don’t have anything like that outside of China.”
OPay, Mastercard Tie-Up Drives Financial Inclusion in Middle East, Africa
Nigerian mobile payments company OPay is working with Mastercard to expand digital commerce and financial inclusion in Africa and the Middle East.
The two companies said their collaboration lets merchants in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates engage more thoroughly with businesses around the world.
Mastercard said it wants to create more ways to help emerging markets and that its partnership with OPay and similar companies will help the credit card giant build new pathways to foster financial inclusion and the next generation of super apps.
Marqeta Partners With Evolve Bank & Trust on Expanded Program Management Capabilities
Global card issuing platform Marqeta has joined forces with technology-focused bank Evolve Bank & Trust to improve the company’s Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) speed for customers and let them access Marqeta’s full program management capabilities.
Evolve works with FinTechs and offers a variety of services, including a dedicated Open Banking division, the company said in a press release.
Xendit Raises $300M to Grow Payments Platform
Payments platform Xendit has concluded a $300 million Series D funding round that brings its total investment capital since 2015 to $538 million.
The company said it plans to use the capital to continue the expansion of its digital payments infrastructure across Southeast Asia.
In the past year, Xendit has tripled its annualized transactions from 65 million to 200 million and increased total payments value from $6.5 billion to $15 billion. The company has also seen sales rise 10% month-over-month since its inception in 2016.

About: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are getting it right and where they need to up their game to deliver a customized shopping experience.
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