Tencent WeBank official launch January 18th. Penguinmania to ensue.

Written by Zennon Kapron || January 07 2015

It's official. Although the bank has already technically been approved (several times), it seems like WeBank, 30% owned by Tencent, will finally make its big splash on January 18th.

The WeBank website is now live and if you go there, you are presented with a QR code, which once scanned with your mobile phone takes you to a very basic website where a man and his penguin explain all...well, some of the potential things you can do with WeBank and how WeBank will always be there for you wherever you go. There isn't much else you can do at this point with the site, but what is there right now is pretty slick. If it's any indication of what we should expect from the bank itself (which is likely is), it could be an amazing customer experience.

One of the shocking things about the banking system here in China is how antiquated the internet banking systems are. Many internet banking platforms will only run on Internet Explorer and not even the latest version. In many cases, USB-tokens are needed to complete payments and access sites as well. Presumably, Tencent (and the Ant Financial's bank too), will use some of their customer interface design skills to make the customer interface experience a bit more tolerable. Mobile banking apps from the banks, Tencent and Alipay show that not all that security is actually needed to complete transactions. 

What is for sure is that WeBank, and the other competitors launching later this year, will be one of the biggest changes that China's financial industry has seen in awhile. Although nothing is for sure, it's likely that they will be tremendously successful in the market and will be giving traditional banks a real run for their money...or deposits...

Mobile Banking in China - Penguin or Old School?Mobile banking in China: will consumers prefer a penguin or stick with what they know?
(Tencent's WeBank Landing page on left, ICBC mobile banking app on Right)