Sina Corp begins testing new online-only credit payment service

By Chen Tian Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-23 23:28:01

Chinese Internet company Sina Corp has started testing what it claims is the country's first online-only credit card-like payment service, indicating that the firm is determined to win a decent share of the hot online financial service market, analysts said Monday.

The service, called Xinyongbao in Chinese or "credit treasure," allows its users to purchase products and services using online credits and to pay back the amount they have spent later.

Sina, which runs the Twitter-like Weibo service, allows users of the microblogging website to "activate" a Xinyongbao account with an initial credit of 50 yuan. People can also register using just their mobile phone number. The company did not specify the service's payment cycle, but said users can increase their credit limit if they pay their bills on time.

A spokesperson for Sina told the Global Times Monday that Xinyongbao is being tested among a small number of users, and he could not comment on when the service would be offered to the general public.

Xinyongbao is targeted at consumers using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, to pay for virtual products, including online games, videos and e-books, news portal cited Liu Wei, vice president of Sina's department in charge of online payment services, as saying in a report on Monday.

Zhang Meng, an analyst from consultancy Analysys International, said that Sina is trying to use Xinyongbao to attract its 536 million Weibo users to use its payment service.

"Sina wants to make Xinyongbao a flagship financial service, such as Alibaba Group's Yu'ebao, to compete in the mobile payment market," Zhang said.

Users of Xinyongbao do not have to link a bank card with their account online, which users of other major online financial services like Yu'ebao have to.

Sina said that Xinyongbao is also a good tool for businesses to advertise their products, based on the fact that 60 million smartphone owners use its Weibo app.

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