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Facebook opens to digital payments, but it’s late

Is Facebook trying to become a bank? In August US tech giant already expressed this dream, but is not such big news. In China WeChat and Alipay are already fintech leaders. How PRC is becoming a source of inspiration for the most famous Western social media?

Facebook opens to digital payments, but it’s late

Now PRC exports its digital innovations. Are international social networks copying Chinese trends? The answer is yes. Last month since Facebook and Instagram introduced new e-commerce features, it really looks like it. But this “shopping of ideas” in PRC tech world is moving forward. Now Facebook opens to digital payment. Such big news for Western consumers, but fintech is already reality in China.

You may use Facebook as a social network, but  now, you may use Facebook as a place to store money, transfer money to other people or buy things online. Is Facebook copying WeChat? It looks like.

Facebook is trying to become a bank, but why? Would you use Facebook as a place to store money, transfer money to other people or buy things online? US based giant social media hopes, someday soon, you will. This process already started 3 years ago, but the plan is getting slower. Facebook is talking to banks to get them to join their Messenger platform and share user information with them to facilitate some services. In August, The Wall Street Journal reported how Facebook was asking banks for users’ financial information, like credit card transactions and checking account balances. The data would be used for Messenger features including account balance updates and fraud alerts, but not for Facebook’s other platforms. The news comes at a sensitive time for Facebook as it battles privacy concerns and adjusts its policy regarding user data.

But now the first green light from Europe. The social network has already applied to the Central Bank of Ireland to become an electronic money institution, licenced to operate within the EU.

Irish Central Bank was just the first step. The company is actively looking to get more banks and financial institutions to use Messenger. Incorporating a user’s financial information into Messenger would allow banks to offer customer service through the platform, as some credit card companies already do, Facebook said. Western social networks have thus finally entered in the new era. But, what is new for us is not new for China, where trends such as social e-commerce or fintech were already born.  After years of Western technological leadership, especially American, it is now Chinese digital innovations to export technological trends to the rest of the world. PRC is actually leading fintech sector and e-commerce, including cashless payments.

From Urumqi to Shenzhen, from Harbin to Canton, up to 90% of all commercial and retail transactions in convenience stores and cafes are occurring through Alipay and Wechat.

Both giants are global fintech forefront. Hema‘s cashless store, supported by Alibaba, are the future of new retail, plus Chinese e-commerce is growing year by year. Players such as JD or Alibaba are no inferior comparing with Amazon. For example, Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant delivery system, is the currently the fastest in the world. During “Double 11” 2018 edition, Cainiao, the Alibaba logistic platform, delivered more than 1bn orders in one day, plus Hangzhou based e-commerce giant to its Shopping Festival racked up sales of $30 billion in just one day this year – dwarfing the returns of so-called Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US. When talking about China, everybody has their own opinion. While prejudices about this country are still widespread, the Dragon moves quickly to raise again as key country in innovation and science.