Youni, SMS with money attached

Shanghai Youni Network Technology, a subsidiary of Chinese operator of online games and book publisher, Shanda, has announced the launch

Shanghai Youni Network Technology, a subsidiary of Chinese operator of online games and book publisher, Shanda, has announced the launch of their new social payment platform called Youni.

Youni integrates payment transactions with social networking by using mobile phone numbers and the user’s contact list.

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The Youni application is an SMS replacement client in similarity to Whatsapp and WeChat, and supports text, voice, and video messages. In addition to offering social communication tools, Youni mainly differs from it competitors because it also offers money transfers between users.

Youni can be used either through a mobile internet connection, or can be used through traditional SMS messaging. The application allows small sums of money to be sent from user to user, and later on, Shanda plans to incorporate a social marketplace where users can buy and sell from one another, and contribute in social purchasing to raise funds.

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“Youni will impress the market by its convenience,” CEO Yang Haoyu stated about the new service. Yang sees the future of Youni in being an online platform where you can buy and sell with your friends, organize dinners, plan and pay for group trips, and offer charity fund raising options.

The Youni application is currently the second most used SMS replacement app in China, behind WeChat, with more than 50,000 registered users in comparison to 300 million users using their competitor’s service.

It seems that Youni is banking on the payment option feature to help lure some of those 300 million plus users to their service. With sociability and payment options, it will be intriguing to see if Youni’s competitors will decide to offer C2C payments as well.

Youni is available both for the iOS and Android mobile operating systems

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