Tencent has just joined China’s personal finance race alongside Alibaba and Baidu with the latest addition to China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat. WeChat now has a “wealth” section where users can store their savings in a new monetary fund straight from their smartphones via TenPay, Tencent’s third-party payment system.

China-Merchants-Bank-launches-its-own-“WeChat-Bank”

The new service is no doubt aimed at competing with Alibaba’s service, which was introduced last year. Users of Tencent’s WeChat app can put money directly in the fund, which is run by China’s largest mutual-fund manager, China Asset Management Co It’s also likely a ploy by Tencent to entice users to link their bank and WeChat accounts. The fund, called Licaitong, offers an impressive 7.3940% seven-day annualized yield, besting Yu’e Bao’s rate by almost 1%.

In WeChat’s 5.0 update from last year, Tencent already added a function that allows users to bind a bank card to their WeChat account for online and offline purchases. Since then, WeChat has let its users pay for taxi fares, movie tickets, lottery tickets, bill-splitting, and a few other goods and services.

Baidu’s Baifa fund maintains the highest interest rate of the three, but it’s capped at a certain amount its users can collectively invest. The real battle in privatized consumer financial services will take place between Alibaba and Tencent. Baidu does not have any widely popular products or services that require user registration; it’s mostly still used as a search engine. Alibaba’s Taobao and Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat are both massively popular and require registration, which gives them a captive audience.

Alibaba’s Yuebao remains the most popular for now. Yesterday, it reported more than 49 million customers have deposited over RMB 250 billion ($41.3 billion).

In the future, Tencent said it plans to launch three other investment services, based on funds provided by China Universal Asset Management Co., E Fund Management Co., and  Guangfa Fund Management Co.

Read the original article from Tech in Asia here and more about tech company sin banking from the Wall Street Journal here.

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