On July 20, South Africa's largest mobile communication operator Vodacom announced a partnership with Alipay, a Chinese mobile payment platform, for developing an e-payment app, so as to enable South Africans to pay bills, shop online and transfer money through smart terminals.
According to Vodacom, the app, which will be run by Vodacom's financial service company and get technical support from Alipay, is expected to be launched early next year at the soonest. It will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access financial services such as loans and insurance, and serve the people who have no bank accounts.
On Monday, July 20, the South African operator Vodacom and Alipay announced a joint statement to develop a super app for the South African market, said Reuters, adding that this app will provide local users with access to various services from next year, such as shopping online, paying bills, transferring money, enjoying streaming music, playing games, watching the news, and taking taxis.
Merchants can use it to replenish their stock, check their transaction volume, advertize products, among others. It will also help SMEs acquire financial services such as loans and insurance. Vodacom Financial Services is the main operator of this app while Alipay is its technology provider. The cooperation project with Alipay predicts a new growth point for Vodacom Financial Services. The latter has grown into a company with more than 12 million customers and contributes nearly USD 60 million to Vodacom. The app can also be integrated into VodaPay, the POS system of Vodacom.
MTN Uganda launches its own WeChat-style app Ayoba
MTN Uganda in partnership with SIMFY AFRICA has launched an Instant Messaging App called "Ayoba". With the positioning similar to Wechat, it can enable users to send instant messages, subscribe to news, play games and access relevant local apps.
Ayoba is a Pan-African platform, built by Africans for Africans. It speaks to the diversity of Africa as it is built with lots of features not available on any other instant messaging (IM) platforms. Ayoba is available in some African languages such as Swahili, Luganda, Hausa, isiXhosa, and Yoruba. The Google Play data shows that the 22M installation package of Ayoba has been downloaded and installed more than 5 million times.
How to solve African problems in an African way? MTN seems to give the solution (Ayoba) to this question this time. Although it is too early to judge the success of this WeChat-style app of MTN, it demonstrates the innovation power of local companies in Africa and, proves the value of the free-of-charge strategy and feature phone users from another perspective. It also enlightens Chinese digital companies in such a way that they have no need to expand business in Africa starting from scratch, but to grow themselves in partnership with existing large platforms, such as the operators.
Source: Xinhua News Agency, Reuters