Goldman-backed chat app Symphony unlocks access to WeChat users through partnership with Tencent

The integration has been tested with a number of financial services companies including BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs.

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Symphony Communications Services, a cloud-based messaging start-up for global markets professionals, is teaming up with Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings to integrate WeChat into its system, opening it up to the one billion users on China’s dominant chat app.

Symphony, which is backed and used by some of the world’s biggest financial services companies including Goldman Sachs, will allow its users to connect via a QR code and chat with WeChat users in China and across the world while complying with their firm’s rules, according to a statement by the two companies on Thursday.

The messages between Symphony and WeChat, known as Weixin in mainland China, will be compliance checked in line with financial industry rules, which include trust barriers, information protection governance and data sovereignty requirements.

“Our global markets and private wealth management customers need a solution that can provide companies with a secure and compliant way to connect to the Weixin community,” David Gurle, founder and CEO of Symphony said in the statement. “Our partnership brings together our trusted collaboration and workflow platform with Tencent’s Weixin ecosystem.”

Tencent did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The partnership with WeChat would help Symphony expand the reach of its clients in China as the Chinese app has a ubiquitous presence with over one billion monthly active users, and help Symphony better compete with rivals such as Bloomberg’s communication platform.

Unlike Bloomberg, which sells financial market data, news and a communications tool to financial sector executives as a bundled offer through its terminals, Symphony focuses on providing a platform for clients to simply communicate and collaborate.

Symphony charges between USD 8 and USD 20 in license fees per end-user every month, compared to about USD 24,000 a year for the full Bloomberg terminal, complete with news, data and chat functionality. Symphony currently has over 450,000 users globally from more than 400 companies, with over 60 million messages sent monthly, according to the company.

Symphony, which started life as Perzo in 2012, was launched by chief executive David Gurle as a low-cost alternative to the messaging tool offered by Bloomberg, and was later sold to Goldman Sachs and 14 other financial companies in 2014.

The company has raised more than USD 460 million from 31 financial-services companies, venture capital funds, and technology firms, and is valued at more than USD 1 billion.

The integration has been tested with a number of financial services companies including BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs, according to the statement.

This article first appeared on the South China Morning Post.