Tencent isn’t exactly a well known name in the West, but its the second largest internet company in China, and the fifth largest in the world. The internet giant has made a lot of news this year, from its $150 billion market value to its massive investment and acquisition spree, but now the company is making headlines for launching the first-ever internet-based bank in China, known as WeBank.
Tencent today launched the website for what will likely be the first ever private internet bank in the People’s Republic of China. China began a trial program early this year that would allow five new private banks to be set up. Web giants Alibaba and Tencent signed up, and the maker of WeChat looks to be first out of the gate. The new WeBank website reads (translation ours): “Are we a bank? Are we an internet company? We are an internet bank!” For now, the domain just holds a placeholder site with a QR code. Scanning that QR code on a mobile phone leads the user to a presentation explaining some general information about WeBank. Forcing curious visitors to scan the QR code to learn more gives some indication about Tencent’s plans for the online bank – it will primarily be a mobile experience.