Akshay Chopra leads the Dubai Innovation Center, a 4,000 square-foot facility helping Visa clients and partners build new payments experiences in Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Whenever we run a co-creation session at Visa, there’s a common ‘quiz’ we love running with our guests. We show a slide with the mobile home screens of five major Chinese apps, and ask people to identify which of these are ecommerce marketplaces and which are banks apps.
It’s a more difficult task than you may assume. The home screens all the nearly same — lots of ads, promotions, banners, colors, products, cars etc. — basically they look like typical ecommerce mobile sites. I love the look on people’s faces when we tell them that these are all banking apps. China aside, leading banks all over the world are pushing hard to build themselves up as marketplaces and super apps that offer services well beyond banking.
In most cases, these marketplaces simply allow points redemption and purchases from partner merchants. The more ambitious banks are thinking about how they can transform their entire business model towards open listing and exchange, where anyone can sell to their users. For many banks, this is their effort to ensure that they are adding value and being a part of their customer’s daily life beyond just their banking needs.
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