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WeChat set to launch banking venture by mid December

WeChat social media

WeChat’s upcoming financial services platform will be launched in mid-December this year, according to Yicai (article in Chinese). Tencent is working with four Chinese fund companies to create a financial product in which users can invest their savings, similar to Baidu’s Baifa and Alibaba’s Yuebao.

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Users can store their savings straight from their smartphones through China’s most popular messaging app WeChat via TenPay, Tencent’s very own third-party payment system. Their money will be accessible at any time and there will be no limit to the amount of money they can deposit (unlike Baidu’s product).

Tencent has not announced the interest rate or minimum investment. Baifa boasts an interest rate of eight percent but caps the maximum amount. Yuebao’s interest rate is about five percent. Neither require a minimum investment.

WeChat has already implemented new payment options into the last version of WeChat, such as the ability to bind users’ bank cards so they can make purchases at select retailers, recharge their prepaid mobile plans, participate in the lottery, and even use vending machines. WeChat has already showed off its chops as an ecommerce player earlier this week when Xiaomi sold 150 000 smartphones through the messaging app in under 10 minutes.

The app now doubles as an e-wallet with a major advantage over its competitors — it already has 600 million registered users. This new savings portfolio offering will serve to strengthen its financial foothold. In comparison, Alibaba reported its NFC e-wallet app has 100-million registered users.

WeChat has now evolved from just a chat app to a full-fledged financial services provider, social network, and gaming platform.

Savings and investment portfolios, in addition to payment solutions, e-wallets, loans, and insurance, are all ways China’s web giants plan to revolutionise the country’s consumer finance sector.

This article by Paul Bischoff originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.

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