Wallets are on the way to belong to the past in China thanks to WeChat.
In few months, the Chinese will no longer have to worry about having their identity cards with them, as long as they have a WeChat account (and basically, almost every Chinese has one!)
What is WeChat?
For those who are not really familiar with WeChat, it’s a Chinese multi-purpose social media mobile application software which has been developed by Tencent in 2011.
WeChat users can do almost everything through this app, including play games, pay bills, make video calls, order food, read the news, book a doctor appointment, and more. It’s basically China’s version of Facebook, but way more developed.
Today the app gathers almost 1 billion users with 60% of them who are daily active on the social platform.
In a country were Facebook, Instagram and Google aren’t part of the daily landscape, WeChat is a major actor in the Chinese digital ecosystem.
Program pilot launched in Guangdong
The first WeChat ID card was issued during a ceremony held in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong province, a few weeks ago. The service is on trial in Guangdong first and is expected to be launched nationwide during January.
The virtual identity card will function the same way as the traditional identity card issued by the state.
WeChat users will have to enter their names and ID numbers before logging in to the government network through a facial-recognition function to access an electronic copy of their ID card. Citizens can then display the “network card” on their phones to book accommodation and flights, among other transactions.
Tech giants’ war
This program was born from a common project between the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau, Tencent, China Construction Bank and 9 other anonymous institutions.
The WeChat ID program could give Tencent a significant advantage on the tech war against his historical rival Alibaba. Thanks to the program, Tencent could easily gather a lot of data on its users and re-use it again for marketing purposes.
With the crazy project, WeChat is set to become even more indispensable in the daily lives of many Chinese consumers and confirm his renown of one of the world’s most powerful apps.
If the series Black Mirror already pictured a similar future in some episodes, the consequences of such a program on the users’ private life can raise some debates.
Source: China Daily