WeBank, which is considered the first private Internet bank in China, launched its first loan product Weilidai for testing among a limited number of 50,000 selected users from Tencent’s IM tool QQ.
Weilidai offers personal loans up to RMB200,000 (US$32,000) free of guarantee or collateral. Supported by an online bank without brick-and-mortar branches, the service is available 24/7 via QQ wallet, a mobile payment service, and allows users to borrow and repay the money anytime with a daily interest of around 0.05%. The transaction can be processed within 15 minutes, according to the company.
Weilidai available at Mobile QQ
WeBank is also planning to expand the service to Tencent’s WeChat and Tenpay, as well as integrating more services related to money management and payment. To control default risks, Tencent, which has developed a homegrown consumer credit scoring system, is trying to leverage big data collected on its social networking platforms or through third party channels.
As online finance is shaking up the nation’s financial industry, online banking is becoming the next battlefield for Chinese Internet companies. Beijing has been loosening curbs on the sector since last year, allowing five new private banks to be set up in the country.
Among the five banks in the trial program, Shenzhen-headquartered WeBank, which Tencent holds a 30% majority stake in, became the first private bank to start operations under a pilot. Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial has also been cleared to launch an online bank in cooperation with Fosun International and other local partners.