Asian messaging apps are like Swiss Army knives for mobile devices; they come packed with tons of functionality that you wouldn’t really expect to see in a messaging app, from cab-hailing to ticket-buying, and WeChat is no exception. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a new feature is coming to WeChat, known as Weilidai, which will allow users to borrow as much as $30,000 in loans in a matter of minutes.
Tencent Holdings Ltd. plans to add a personal loan feature to its popular WeChat smartphone messaging application later this month, in the latest step in the Chinese Internet giant’s expansion in online financial services, according to people familiar with the matter. The new WeChat feature called Weilidai, which literally means “a tiny bit of loan,” allows users to borrow up to 200,000 yuan ($31,350) without guarantee or collateral. The Weilidai service is operated by WeBank, an Internet bank launched in January by Tencent and Chinese financial firms. Internet finance is the next major battleground for two of China’s largest technology companies — Tencent, whose main services are online games and social networks, and online shopping giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Both Tencent and Alibaba, through its affiliate, offer online payment services and are starting to play greater roles in the country’s burgeoning market for online financial services.