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Tencent's WeChat ups the ante in personal credit rating in rivalry with Alibaba's Sesame Credit

WeChat Pay is used to pay for a convenience store purchase in Shenzhen, China. Photo: ABS-CBN News

WeChat, a popular social media app owned by Internet giant Tencent, is poised to establish a social credit evaluation system, ramping up competition with Sesame Credit of Alibaba amid a boom in mobile payment in China.

The move lays bare Tencent's plan to expand WeChat's functions, as Sesame Credit has been widely applied into areas ranging from Internet finance and financial lease to shared economy and public utility services.

According to a report recently published on, an e-commerce news website in China, Tencent is launching a trial operation of WeChat Pay Point, the social credit evaluation system, in some cities of South China's Guangdong province, allowing users who hold a WeChat Pay Point score of 550 or higher to rent a shared charger without paying the deposit of 99 yuan.

Sesame Credit has deeply incorporated itself with the country's shared economy services that attach great importance to personal credibility. For instance, bike-sharing company Hellobike, which recently rebranded itself as Hello Chuxing, or Hello TransTech, in a clear sign of preparation for business expansion, has offered a deposit-free service in nearly 200 cities to users with a Sesame Credit score of 650 or higher. Ofo, another bike-sharing firm, has also accepted Sesame Credit as its partner in the operation of its deposit-free service.

A user's WeChat Pay Point score is normally evaluated based on his or her real-name information, WeChat Pay-enabled consumption activities and credit history, said Tencent.

Tencent's attempt to tap into the social credit evaluation market dates back to 2015, when Tencent Credit and Sesame Credit were among eight institutions that were allowed by the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, to run personal credit evaluation business in a pilot project.

Endorsed by the central bank, Sesame Credit has quickly strengthened its foothold in the domains of e-commerce and wealth management by classifying users' levels of credibility in accordance with credit card repayment, online purchase records, house rental and social networking. Meanwhile, Tencent Credit lagged behind due to lack of resources in e-commerce and credit rating.

Therefore, the test of WeChat Pay Point in Guangdong province is seen as a renewed effort by Tencent to challenge Sesame Credit, as WeChat has evolved into a complete ecosystem made up of social networking, mini programs, e-commerce, lending services, shared economy services, on-demand services and so on.

Moreover, the domestic and global expansion of WeChat Pay, a mobile payment system, is supposed to pave the way for wider application of WeChat Pay Point.

Domestically, the mobile payment market is mainly occupied by WeChat Pay and Alibaba's Alipay. Globally, WeChat Pay has focused on connecting itself with more overseas merchants in hot tourist destinations in the hope of serving a growing number Chinese travelers. Last month, Tencent launched the Hong Kong version of WeChat Pay, which allows consumers of the former British colony to directly complete payments on the Chinese mainland by means of an automatic currency conversion system within the mobile payment tool, where exchange rate and automatic currency exchange services are available.

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