As of September 2016, WeChat had 768 million active users; the service is owned by Tencent; social cash sent to users through customized red packets or red envelopes has been one factor driving increased usage; WeChat has also been helping fuel a cashless society with 300 million users using WeChat Pay; expanding features and red packet promotional efforts have helped the company report an estimated value of $80 billion which is approximately half of Tencent's market cap. Source
Standard Chartered China's credit cards can now be added to WeChat user payment accounts, marking the first foreign capital-backed bank to cooperate with Tencent this way; according to Tencent Financial Technology Group (Tencent FiT) Payment Platform Product Manager Chen Qiru. the cooperation will help WeChat Pay to acquire more international users and WeChat Pay will strengthen cooperation with international financial institutions. Source (Chinese)
Chinese regulators have been cracking down on bitcoin recently but traders have found a workaround; traders can use the messaging app WeChat to buy and sell coins; users are not sure how long this will last as the government is keen to shut down as much as they can; traders do believe they can stay ahead of the government by moving from app to app. Source.
Prior to the license, the company operated as a platform for other third party funds to sell products through their wealth management platform Qian.qq.com and WeChat; now the company will be able to sell direct to its nearly 1 billion users; the company already had licenses for mobile payments, insurance and micro finance. Source
WeChat recently started to offer users access to mutual funds, just another service they were able to add to the platform; the open platform based approach where you can plug in different services through an API is where financial services is headed; while those in Europe and the US might not be as advanced as China they know innovation like this is coming; “It really shows incumbents that they’ll need yet again to pivot to a new platform; that it’s not the bank that’s the platform anymore,” April Rudin, chief executive of wealth management marketing firm The Rudin Group, tells TearSheet; message based financial advice is the next natural step for clients who have transformed the way they interact in recent years from the phone call to the text message or chat service. Source.
According to a report from UN-based Better Than Cash, between Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat, customers sent over $3 trillion in payments in 2016; the chart above shows how far the services have come since 2012; percentage of digital payments (online & mobile) went from 3.5% to 17% of all transactions over the same time period; Alipay and WeChat own 63% of the market for digital payments. Source
Bloomberg reports on the possibility of ride-sharing companies getting into financial services; Grab is a leading ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia; app users can now start sending credits which are used to pay for rides to other users; by the end of 2017 credits will be able to be used at 1,000 restaurants and retailers, turning Grab into much more of an e-payment platform than just a taxi service; in Indonesia, the 200,000 drivers of Go-Jek can use e-wallets to store their earnings and also spend funds on a variety of services; article also shares innovation in Kenya with M-Pesa as well as China's Alibaba and WeChat. Source
While regulators have shut down exchanges the market is still showing signs of life as investors are trading bitcoin and buying into ICOs; investors are using the price over the counter market to buy and sell cryptocurrencies; investors are also using messaging apps like WeChat and Telegram to get deals done; bitcoin miners are where the authorities have found greater success as there has been a big hit to miners since the crackdown occurred. Source.
The Shenzhen Securities Regulatory Bureau issued the year’s first fund sales license to Tencent Holdings; the company will operate as Teng An Fund Sales; WeChat adds a police certified facial recognition technology as part of a pilot program they hope to roll out to all of China in late January; some loans on HNA’s p2p platform JBH have dealt with deferred payments a since November. Source.