Local Chinese banks already realized the importance of mobile banking. They launched their mobile apps; then flocked to Wechat to start so called “Wechat banking services”. Ever wonder if there is any statistics to quantify their mobile banking performance so far? Here comes some interesting numbers to gauge.

According to the latest release from Eguan, a reputable internet research company in China, the top 5 banking Apps ranked by number of total downloads till June 2013 are:

1)       Construction Bank  19385756

2)       ICBC  14423469

3)       China Merchant Bank  7403959

4)       Bank of Communication  7200622

5)       Agriculture Bank of China  4767908

In terms of mobile banking transaction size, Construction Bank occupied 34.36% market share, followed by ICBC 27.58% and Bank of Communication 14.7%. The three banks combined represented over 76% of the mobile banking market.

We should not be too surprised to see Construction Bank, ICBC, Agriculture Bank and Bank of Communication on the list. After all they are evaluated as among the leading 5 commercial banks in China, which often tend to have larger customer base.

But China Merchant bank is rather an exception here. Founded in 1987, it is the first share-holding commercial bank wholly owned by corporate legal entities in China; mainly serves SMEs and individuals while strongly pushes its credit card business. It is the most active banking player in China social media arena, check it here.

In fact, it is also the first bank to debut its “Wechat Banking Account”, integrated with quite comprehensive mobile banking features, pivoted to promote its credit cards. Afterwards, many local banks have followed suit, i.e. ICBC, Bank of Communication, China Citic Bank, PingAn Bank, CGB…This month, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank just joined this wave as well, and claiming to be the first local bank to specialize in personal finance&investment on Wechat.

It looks like banks’ craze for “Wechat Banking” will keep smouldering till blaze. The rise of Wechat now has been glutted with companies which believe this thing is the fertile soil to grow business and nurture customers. Tencent already stepped in to reorganize the commercial side of this ecosystem. After all the soul of Wechat is about mobile communicating and socializing, and if someone would like to leverage its traffic and reap benefits, Tencent should be more entitled to.

One day the popularity of Wechat will wane down, just a matter of time, either sooner or later.


By Cécilia Wu
English & Chinese Editorial Manager