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China’s Sina plans to launch online banking services

Sina, the Chinese tech giant behind microblogging platform Sina Weibo, announced that it will roll out an online banking platform in September.

According to the Beijing News (h/t via Tech in Asia) the new service, titled WeiBank, will allow consumers services to make financial transactions, complete bank transfers, make remittances, manage credit cards, and do other money-related tasks online.

Sina has yet to disclose specific details of business model, and the degree to which the product is integrated with Sina’s other products – which, in addition to Sina Weibo, include the news portal Sina.com.cn – is unknown.

Sina Weibo has experimented in the past with third-party payments. Xiaomi’s now infamous flash deal was conducted on Weibo using the then trial-only WeiboPay, and the company now has a “Weibo Wallet,” but WeiBank will presumably allow for more sophisticated financial transactions.

Of course, given Alibaba’s recent purchase of an 18% stake in Sina Weibo, it’s likely that WeiBank will be tied in with Sina Weibo in some capacity (the  name similarity – Weibo, WeiBank – is an indicator as well). With China’s leading online e-commerce company now officially a partial owner of the microblog, some have expected Sina Weibo to tilt towards social commerce. Buying shoes and managing investments aren’t intrinsically social activities, but both can have their place on a social network where money is flowing.

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