Vodacom, one of South Africa’s largest mobile telecommunication networks, has agreed to partner with China’s biggest digital provider, Ant Financial Services Group – Alipay, to create a ‘super app’.
The application which is expected to be ready next year will enable South African consumers to “shop online, pay bills and send money to family”, Reuters reported. It will also help small scale enterprises (SMEs) and about 11 million South Africans to have the opportunity to borrow and other financial services. Vodacom’s Group CEO, Shameel Joosub, shared that the “partnership is a significant milestone in promoting greater financial inclusion within the communities in which we operate, accelerating our financial services aspirations across Africa”.
The ‘WeChat-like’ application will provide users and Vodacom’s 12 million customers with the opportunity to stream music and access news. Vodacom also stands to benefit through “getting rewarded with airtime, data, and other incentives, while access to the platform will be zero-rated for data usage.”
Some scholars believe that African banks and telecom businesses have a lot to learn from Chinese fintechs.