Xiaomi is the latest of a long list of Chinese internet companies making real efforts in disrupting the financial services industry in China. At the same time, Tencent and Alibaba's online banks gets formal government approval. Following on the footsteps of Alibaba’s Ant Financial Group and Tencent’s WeBank, other companies continue to enter the field. Here is a brief list of some of the major entrants to date:
- June 2013Alipay: “Yuebao” a mobile deposit and investment platform which quickly became #1 in China in its first size months by collecting over US$ 40 billion in deposits
- Oct 2013 Baidu: “Baidu Licai (Baidu Finance Center)” An online wealth management platform.
- Jan 2014 Tencent: “Licaitong” Users of Tencent’s WeChat app can put money directly in the fund.
- Mar 2014 JD: “Xiaojinku” Wealth management service.
- April 2014 Sina Weibo: “Weicaifu” Wealth management service, which is a money market fund.
- May 2015 Xiaomi: Dubbed "Huoqi Bao", Xiaomi's new personal finance service will offer deposit rates higher than traditional Chinese banks and will be accessible via an app to be bundled with Xiaomi handsets.
Is this a meaningful trend? Definitely. In the past few months, a group of traditional brick and Mortar financial institutions- including Ping An Bank, Communications Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Minsheng Banking Corp - have also rolled out their own money market products, according to the Shenyin Wanguo research. More banks are expected to follow suit.