Wechat Secretary, a virtual concierge and purchasing agent, now accepts Bitcoin for its concierge services. The service allows expats in China to make purchases from Taobao, the biggest e-commerce store in the world, Alibaba and cTrip.
The company even accepts bitcoins to create and fund an Alipay account for customers who wish to purchase items in China without the use of an agent.
As David Lancashire, a founder of Wechat Secretary says,
“This is the equivalent of being able to deposit bitcoin into the Chinese version of PayPal.”
Wechat Secretary can set you up with airport concierge services, mobile phone charging, directions and translation services all for bitcoins. Residents in China can pay for everything from housekeeping to home through the service.
“This is especially useful because there aren’t things like the Yellow Pages in China, and it can be difficult to find the telephone number of local repair and service shops even if you speak Chinese like a native,” says Lancashire.
Wechat Secretary charges 7.5% commission for small purchases and fund transfers. Discounts and flat-rate pricing is available on larger orders.
“Most expats in any country end up dependent on family and friends who speak the local language in order to do many essential things in life – call a plumber, get someone to install air conditioning, arrange for housecleaning, and so on,” says Lancashire.
“This problem is particularly acute in China, because the entire economic infrastructure is built on the assumption that everyone is Chinese. Even opening a bank account can be impossible for some people because their names exceed the 20-character limit the banking system has for the length of user names. And if you don’t have a bank account, you can’t setup online banking.”
The company is prepared to handle aspects of life most foreign expats in China cannot – or does not want to – do themselves. Even trivial activities, like charging phone accounts and adding more money to Alipay. The company even assists its corporate clients with more involved demands, like sourcing products from factories.
Wechat Secretary is currently running a promotion through Friday. The company will set clients up with a FREE Alipay account, making it possible to pay for basically every web and app-driven service in the country.