Someone sent me a very interesting article on why WeChat is a threat to Safaricom’s Mpesa. He argues that Safaricom has become lazy and un-innovative, concentrating more on milking its cash cow because it enjoys enjoys a first-to-market advantage and a large network of Mpesa shops. WeChat wallet has already been launched in South Africa and expansion into East Africa he says poses a threat not only to M-Pesa but to Safaricom due to Wechat’s other innovative features. What are your thoughts on this? WeChat vs M-Pesa.
My opinion about it is that it’s hardly a threat. You are making the assumption that people will sign up to Wechat Enmasse. If we are to go with history, Kenya is a market of godfathers. And Standard Chartered bank would serve to be a very bad Godfather for the mass market. Even Equity bank which is the leading bank hasn’t been able to upset Mpesa, remember they have free payments, directly to bank.
As much as Safaricom is un-innovative with M-Pesa, getting it out of that throne is pretty hard. And by the way they are already trialing Mpesa app, so they won’t be exactly out of time.
WeChat is not the threat to MPESA,But its environment,features and business model is the threat…I think a company like Ocharge is the real threat,if they can seek a different payment model,integrate messaging and improve on ecommerce/shopping…what will happen is one will spend more time on the app paying for goods,requesting rides,shopping,messaging…e.t.c. Thats why Wechat is big in China,its a one stop shop,whoever builds and implements it locally with more than 1 million subscribers will eventually dethrone Safaricom
What say you @Prateek_kumar?
Nah, that article is very badly written. Tell the guy he could do better. But I get the point. WeChat or no WeChat, M-PESA, at least in Kenya, is ripe for disruption. For M-PESA to really grow in Kenya and fully tap into its potential, a disruption along the lines of what WeChat is doing in China is needed.
Remember there are so many big companies like Safaricom who have been thrown out of the market because of disruption. Anything is possible