Tencent launches new Licaitong product offering high returns

By Yang Jing Source:Global Times Published: 2014-1-22 23:18:01

The screen of a smartphone displays Licaitong which was launched by Tencent Wednesday. The text shown on the screen says "Licaitong will ensure your assets rise fast. The return rate is more than 16 times higher than that provided by current [bank] deposits." Photo: IC

Tencent Inc, China's leading Internet company, launched its new asset management platform Licaitong Wednesday, which is operated by Tenpay, Tencent's third-party payment affiliate, Tencent said Wednesday.

The asset management platform is cooperating with four leading fund management companies, including China Asset Management Co (China AMC), and is targeting WeChat users, Tencent said in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times Wednesday.

WeChat, a popular instant message application developed by Tencent, has 600 million users.

The first monetary fund product released by Licaitong Wednesday, which is from China AMC, offers a 7.338 percent seven-day annualized return, 18 times more than the banks' one-year fixed deposit rate, according to the statement.

Usually the average annual return rate of monetary funds is no more than 5 percent, Zhang Meng, an analyst from Beijing-based research firm Analysys International, told the Global Times Wednesday.

The 7.338 percent offered by Tencent's new fund product is a result of the return rate of the last seven days having risen due to tight liquidity at the end of the year, Zhang said.

According to Zhang, the innovative aspect of Licaitong products and Yu'ebao launched by Tencent's rival Alibaba Group comes from the fact they are sold online.  

Yu'ebao, which is a collaboration between Alibaba's online-payment affiliate Alipay and Tianhong Asset Management Co, has attracted 49 million customers and more than 250 billion yuan ($41.3 billion) as of January 15 since its launch last June, according to the website of Tianhong.

The latest seven-day annualized return of Yu'ebao, which was posted on Tuesday, is 6.423 percent, while its highest-ever rate reached was 6.763 percent according to a media report. 

With similar features, Licaitong and Yu'ebao or other online monetary fund products will compete in aspects such as guaranteeing security and offering convenience to users, Feng Lin, an analyst at China E-Commerce Research Center, told the Global Times Wednesday.

On Licaitong, a user's account will be bonded with a bank card, while money transfer can only be done between the Licaitong account and the bonded card, the statement from Tencent said, noting Licaitong is very safe because the money in the account cannot be transferred to other bank cards or be spent directly.

This increases security but reduces convenience, Feng said, noting there is always a conflict between safety and convenience.

Considering the user scale, Alibaba and Tencent may be the leaders in online asset management sector, Feng said.

The online asset management products, including monetary fund products, have done away with the capital thresholds that banks set for purchasing their fund products, therefore they can attract young people and will be the future trend for asset management sector, Zhang said.

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