Cancer insurance is WeChat’s newest marketing foray

Cancer insurance is WeChat’s newest marketing foray

By Heather Timmons @HeathaT 10 hours ago

WeChat, China’s massive social media chat app, has been used to sell everything from video games to taxi rides to bank accounts, but its latest foray is more serious—cancer insurance.

Users between the ages of 18 and 39 are being offered policies from Taiking Life Insurance that costs 1 yuan (about 16 US cents)  for every 1,000 yuan in insurance coverage, with a maximum payout of 10 million yuan. Users between 40 and 49 years old get 300 yuan in coverage for every 1 yuan they pay.

But here’s the really interesting part: After signing up, WeChat’s highly social base of over 270 million users share the deal with their friend groups by creating a “seeking care” page, and for every friend that signs up, the original user gets an additional 300 to 1,000 yuan of annual insurance protection, depending on their age, as TechinAsia reports. Some users complain that the promotion amounts to “emotional blackmail,” Techweb reports (link in Chinese).

The way the health insurance promotion works is good example of how, as Quartzpreviously reported, apps like WeChat are ecosystems unto themselves—something Facebook will need to emulate to justify its $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp.

The Taiking Life coverage is for diagnosis of cancer, as defined by the World Health Organization, TechWeb explains—something clearly on the minds of young Chinese, even if they are much less likely to contract cancer than their elders. With 20% of the world’s population, China now accounts for 30% of lung cancer diagnoses, the WHO said this year. And lung cancer rates are growing fast in polluted cities like Beijing.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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