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South African Telecos Look to China to Expand their Services

Vodacom Group plans to create a ‘super app’ in partnership with digital payment provider Alipay, part of China’s Alibaba group, to allow consumers in South Africa to shop online, pay bills and send money to family from next year. The app will also help small to medium enterprises (SME) access financial services such as lending and insurance, the two companies said in a joint statement on Monday. Vodacom and other mobile operators in South Africa are seeking to expand their mobile payment apps into online market places to leverage their network and customer base. They are also looking to tap more than 11 million South Africans who do not have bank accounts, to offer lending and other financial services. The super app, much like WeChat, a platform developed by Tencent Holdings Ltd in China, will be operated by Vodacom Financial Services, with Alipay as the technology provider, the firms said in their statement.