WeChat, the Swiss Army knife of the Chinese digital world, does not stop to amaze the world with its latest development – two, in fact. WeChat now is a digital alternative to a physical identifying document. While we are here guessing what is awaiting the financial services world in 2018, WeChat is building the services of 2030.
Pick #1. Tencent’s WeChat messaging platform adopted by Beijing court for case filing
A day after being used in a pilot program to replace state government issued IDs, Tencent Holdings’ WeChat has been adopted by Beijing Court as a means for people to file lawsuits electronically.
Parties in a legal case can submit documents, verify their identify, and pay legal fees through the WeChat prosecution service platform operated by Beijing Haidian court.
The service platform uses character recognition technology for document scanning and facial recognition for ID verification, Dai said. It is also connected with information centers for China’s household registration system, which officially records all resident information including full name and date of birth.
Pick #2. China is testing an electronic identification system on WeChat
Starting 2018, the Chinese will no longer have to worry about leaving their identity cards at home, as long as they’re registered users on WeChat.
The Guangzhou government in China released the country’s first batch of “WeChat identity cards.” They’ll allow citizens to verify their identities through facial recognition technology. The program is expected to launch across the country next month.
The electronic identity card will function the same as a traditional identity card issued by the state. Verified users will be able to do anything that requires an identity card, including checking in at hotels and applying for government services, just by scanning their faces with their phones. Their identities are authenticated through an artificial intelligence system.
Pick #3. Ant’s Quiet Kingpin in the Storm
Ant Financial, China’s biggest FinTech company is best known for its Alipay system, but “Payments is just the tip of the iceberg. What’s big is under the water.”
Ant is also a money manager, a loan originator, and a liquidity provider to China’s burgeoning middle class. It controls the world’s largest money markets fund, Yu’E Bao, which boasted more than 1.5 trillion yuan ($228 billion) of assets as of September; offers consumer loans to millions of users on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms; and has an online banking license. Once the People’s Bank of China becomes comfortable with the concept of conducting KYC due diligence electronically, Ant will be able to start taking household deposits, too.
The Alibaba affiliate also benefits from diversified revenue sources, receiving about half from payments, and 20% each from consumer financing and insurance distribution.