Chinese virtual credit cards, $90m for Indian startup, LeadPath… – Global & regional roundup

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Virtual credit cards in China as bank partners Alibaba and Tencent. (alizila)

alipayEver heard of Virtual Credit cards?

Two top Chinese internet companies, Alibaba and Tencent (the WeChat guys) announced the introduction of these yesterday. The cards can be used offline as well as online. Both companies are teaming up with a China CITIC Bank, one of China’s largest banks.

It doesn’t sound ground-breaking looking at it from the perspective of these two internet companies, but they have a common backing bank for a reason. If you look at it from the angle of a traditional bank now going into virtual credit cards and stuff like approving the creditworthiness of applicants based solely on the consumers’ online shopping histories (generated by these sites) then it gets interesting. See more here: alizila


Online classifieds venture Quikr raises $90 million in a round led by Kinnevik (YourStory)

QuikrAn indian classifieds website, Quickr, has raised $90 million, in a bid to be the top classifieds website in the country. The $90 million came from a group of investors led by Swedish investment firm Investment Kinnevik.

Writes YourStory: “Quikr has raised close to $150 million till date in seven rounds over the last six years and claims to receive more than 30 million visitors each month. Quikr’s closest competitor in India is Argentina based OLX which is also heavily venture backed and has been neck to neck with Quikr.”


LeadPath launches accelerator to invest up to $100,000 in Nigerian Startups (TechCabal)

leadpathLast week a new Nigerian Accelerator, LeadPath,  launched its programme. LeadPath Accelerator. According to TechCabal, “LeadPath will make seed investments in startups doing business in software applications, mobile applications, electronic payments and big data. Typical investments range between $25,000 to $100,000 in the first instance, as well as follow-on investments from LeadPath and other venture funds. LeadPath will also offer office space, mentorship and other services to their investees, helping them achieve scale and success in a promising but challenging market.”


Oscar Pistorius trial trumps Football World Cup 2014 (MyBroadband)

oscar-pistorius-mybroadbandOne of South Africa’s leading online tech publications, MyBroadband, writes that a media monitoring group, Data Driven Insight, has released figures showing that Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial is bigger than the Fifa World Cup.

The figures:

  • Temporary restriction prompted about 2500 articles.
  • In 24 hours, news and social media hit over 106,000
  • Pistorius having retched in court was carried in 2300 news articles.
  • 8800 articles an hour (on day one) to 9200 in the 3pm hour on Friday (7 Feb)


  1. Gweja

    Oscar Trial bigger than FIFA World cup? What crap is that!!!

  2. Dan_The_Man

    Virtual credit cards in China as bank partners Alibaba and

    Not touched on in the article but worth mentioning is the limited relevance in Zim. The payment provider behind this will be Alipay (an up and coming wallet/e-payment solution in China – dubbed the PayPal of the East!). At this point in time, it is really only pertinent to a subset of Chinese e-merchants who accept Alipay as a payment method.

    China Union Pay (CUP) still hold the lion’s share of the market domestically – especially when allowing for cardholder present (non MOTO and internet) transactions. I guess that this is the interesting point though: Alipay are giving the option of getting a physical copy of their virtual card – essentially looking to venture into the cardholder present market.

    PayPal did exactly the same thing with their wallet. Interestingly they chose to partner with an established issuer in MasterCard rather than trying to go the whole closed loop system (ummm…cue Zimswitch) and compete with some very big players. I guess this is an indication that the Chinese market has space for another card association.

    On the subject of virtual cards in general – this is by no means a new concept. The major card associations have done this with prepaid and gift cards for a while now. Wirecard in Germany issued a virtual MasterCard a good 10 years ago. Bank of Valletta in Malta have issued virtual VISA for a while too. I am certain that there are countless other examples too.

    Of course a virtual CREDIT card is a newer concept. I guess it is one way to try and capture market share rapidly. Good old instant gratification! I hope Alipay have a very good risk system in place because they will need it shortly!

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Thanks for the clarification and ton of information providing great insight & context 🙂

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