WeChat’s latest viral hit in China: health insurance

A collaboration between Tencent and Taikang Life Insurance allows WeChat users to receive various amounts of health insurance protection

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 7:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 7:05pm

Over a month after Tencent’s WeChat scored a hit in China with its Lunar New Year red envelope gifting feature, another promotion has gone viral on the messaging app -  health insurance.

According to Techweb, WeChat users in China have been participating in a gifting scheme known as “Wei Huzhu”. 

Headed up by Beijing-based Taikang Life Insurance, the promotion lets users pay one yuan through WeChat Payments and receive one year of health insurance protection worth 1,000 yuan (HK$ 1,300) if they are between 18 and 39 years old, or 300 yuan (HK$ 380) if they are between 40 and 49 years old.

While 1,000 yuan is not a substantial amount for those facing a serious illness, users who pay one yuan through WeChat Payments can opt to share the promotion on WeChat Friends Circle, the app's Facebook Timeline-esque page.

Once the promotion is shared, whenever a friend clicks on it and and pays one yuan for him or herself, that person’s previously registered friends will receive an additional 1,000 yuan (or 300 yuan, depending on age) in protection.

Taikang caps an individual’s total protection value at 10,000 yuan (HK$ 13,000).

Techweb writes that the insurance only covers malignant tumors - a condition that likely affects a small percentage of the 18-39 age group and indicates that WeChat is primarily using this insurance scheme as a promotional method. 

Despite this, industry observers have expected insurance to be the next space for Alibaba and Tencent to disrupt, following their forays into personal finance with the former’s Yu’ebao and the latter’s Caifubao

In November 2013, the two tech giants both purchased stakes in Zhong An Online Property Insurance.

The company creates insurance policies specifically designed to cover e-commerce, virtual property, social networking and other assorted online transactions. 

This article was originally reported by Tech in Asia and was edited and republished with permission.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Blum