WeBank, a digital micro lender of Tencent Financial Technologies, applies blockchain to create transparency and trust with its business partners and aims to offer its platform as a service.
December 12, 2018 | Chris Kapfer
When Chinese regulators opened the banking sector in 2014 and allowed banking entities to be owned 100% privately, it coincided with a couple of other macro factors such as the openness of the regulators to all financial experimentation to flourish in particular in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing. One of the companies to take advantage of this opportunity is WeBank.
“WeBank, the first privately-owned commercial bank in China, obtained its financial licence from the Shenzhen Banking Regulatory Bureau in December 2014. The company was initiated by the leading shareholder, Tencent, and other two large shareholders, namely Shenzhen Baiyeyuan, an investment holding company specialising in the pharmaceutical industry, and Shenzhen Liye Group, which focuses on financial and industrial investments. We launched the first product, a micro loan product in May 2015, and this was very successful. A lot of that has to do because we could leverage on Tencent’s open source technology, a robust database, and the security that matched a lot of the requirements we had in building WeBank,” said Henry Ma, Chief Information Officer, WeBank.
According to its latest annual report, WeBank grew its assets to $8.3billion (RMB52 billion) between 2014 and 2016. In 2016, the bank turned profitable after operating for 12 months. Its net interest income contributed the largest share to total earnings at 78%. Furthermore, the quality of its asset book stood at 0.32% at the end of 2016.
With more than 38 million customers, WeBank is also larger than Alibaba’s MyBank. It is ranked among the best digital banks in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa in The Asian Banker Annual Best Digital Banks and FI ranking.
Retail customers that take out a micro loan do not have to own a current account which is a type II account under Chinese regulations. This means the bank is not allowed to have a physical bra...
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