The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Fintech

Digital banking: Electronic shock for China's old guard

Tencent and Alibaba are at the vanguard of setting up new online banks. It's a great way to shake up the old state players and, by mining their data, get credit ratings for China's underserved population. But do upstart tech companies really have the political and business resources to challenge the incumbents?



China electronic shock-600
martinwimmer yxxys


Many commentators in China are extremely excited about the launch of WeBank, and are all-too-ready to discuss how its creation could help transform the country’s banking sector.

Getting anyone at WeBank itself to talk about its potential is a much tougher task. Tencent, the Chinese internet giant that is its most illustrious shareholder, is famously secretive, despite being listed in Hong Kong, and rarely grants interviews to either domestic or international media.

Tencent’s wiry founder-chairman Pony Ma is bespectacled and publicity-shy, expressionless and pale, in many ways the embodiment of that western idea of Chinese inscrutability.

Requests for an interview with WeBank were at first politely rebuffed by Tencent; later entreaties were simply ignored.

“Good luck getting an interview with them,” counseled a well-credentialled Hong Kong financial analyst. “If you can get your foot in the door, please let me know how.”

Never one to shirk a challenge, Euromoney ventured across the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, then across town to Tencent’s main headquarters on Kejizhongyi Avenue, in the city’s high-tech Nanshan District.





You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree