Bricks and clicks: Citi plugs into WeChat and Alipay in China
Clients can soon repaying their Citi credit cards using their Alipay account.
Citi is ramping up its growth in the digital space in China by connecting with the two largest digital eco-systems in the country.
James Griffiths, a Citigroup spokesman for the bank in Asia, notes that despite having 46 branches in 13 cities in China, 95% of the bank's transactions in the country happen outside the branch.
"While the branch network remains important in China, the growth in digital means we are adapting fast: it's a bricks and clicks strategy designed to ensure we remain relevant to our clients," he adds.
In 2014, Citi passed US$1bn in revenues in China. The digital growth partly contributed to the bank's double digit growth in its consumer segment.
With this new connection, Citi's card and bank clients can choose their preferred mode of interaction. They can now:
1) See Citi's marketing information
2) Receive alerts – the same alerts sent through SMS and email
3) Make inquiries on balances, payment due, reward points (same as in two-way SMS) .
Within the next 3 weeks, Griffiths says that clients will also be able to repay their Citi credit cards using their Alipay accounts.
"Wechat (with over 600 million clients) and Alipay (with close to 500 million clients) are distinct services. We are now covered on the information, alerts, inquiry with both Wechat and Alipay. The repayment of our credit card from the Alipay account of the client (which is funded by a debit card account of theirs from their deposit bank) is tech live and will go client live shortly," says Griffiths.