African fintech company SimbaPay and Family Bank Limited— a leading bank in Kenya— have teamed up to launch an instant money transfer service from Kenya to China through WeChat.
The companies report that small Kenyan businesses already use WeChat to communicate with their suppliers in China—Kenya’s largest trading partner. The partnership will help boost trade between the two countries as the new service is designed to help vendors overcome barriers in sending money to suppliers overseas.
SimbaPay co-founder Sagini Onyancha told Techcrunch a little more about the market his company is trying to get into.
“Kenya imports about $4 billion goods from China. That’s the total market that we’re getting into. We’re looking at a single digit market share of the transactional volume around that.”
SimbaPay and Family Bank project over 7 million customers and businesses in Kenya will be able to perform money transfers to WeChat Pay through Family Bank’s PesaPap mobile banking application and USSD service.
Users only need a mobile phone number to make a money transfer via SimbaPay service. Funds are instantly delivered to WeChat Pay recipients in Chinese Yuan. Through the app, senders can review the transaction and exchange rate before completing the payment.
“This is a huge milestone for us and our customers,” said Family Bank Chief Operations Officer, Godfrey Kamau in a press release. “We are glad to extend, more so to our SME customers, a solution that offers an instant, reliable, traceable and affordable channel to send money to their suppliers and business partners in China.”
SimbaPay also supports money transfer to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Nigeria, Madagascar, Niger, and India. The London-based fintech company launched in 2015 to aid digital money transfers across Africa.
The startup participated in Barclays Accelerator (powered by Techstars) in 2016.