Yuebao, the mutual fund launched by Alibaba Group for its online shoppers in mid-2013, showed Chinese users how easy it could be to purchase financial products online or through a mobile app. It generated so much buzz in China in the past year. Alibaba claims more than 100 million users had tried it out in the first year since its launch. Before long, other big Chinese Internet companies, including Baidu, Tencent, Sina and Sohu, also began selling mutual funds through their own Web/mobile services.

What’s interesting is many Chinese fintech entrepreneurs, instead of feeling afraid of those giants, say they are grateful for Yuebao for educating Chinese users. In the 12 months ending June 2014, personal finance app users in China increased 124% to 68.2 million, higher than the overall app user growth rate which is 64%, according to the latest report released by iResearch, a Chinese market research company. (report in Chinese)

The causes include, according to iResearch, (a) the total number of financial apps increased from 39 to 61 in the year; (b) early movers have been developing new features and improving user experience, and (c) increasingly more Chinese users are embracing the idea of personal financial management through mobile apps.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com