One thing peculiar about the business atmosphere in China is the high level of competition and the rate at which these companies block loopholes that’ll enable featuring a rival’s product on a company’s platform. The country has a long history of companies operating and providing services as independent companies, blocking whatever link that would allow a rival onto its platform. This might be beginning to change. Who’d have thought that giant e-commerce company Alibaba would allow the products/services of a rival, not to think of one as big as Tencent, on its platform?
Global e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced its decision to allow users to purchase goods and services on some of its apps using WeChat Pay, a payment service provided by Tencent, its biggest rival. The decision comes following the anti-competitive behaviour that the country’s regulator accused it of. Although its parent company already has a payment service – AliPay, Alibaba will be allowing WeChat Pay onto some of its platforms. Alibaba’s Shuqi, Koala and Damai apps now support Tencent’s WeChat Pay, and its food delivery app and video service, Ele.me and Youku respectively, have already started their integration with the payment service.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, earlier this month, ordered China’s biggest tech companies to stop blocking links to each other’s content and services. Companies like Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance, etc were asked to bring an end to their anti-competitive and monopolistic practices.
According to Alibaba, it is waiting on the approval of its rival Tencent to integrate WeChat Pay into its grocery store app Hema, its used goods marketplace Idle Fish and discount shopping service called Taobao Deals. A spokesperson from Taobao Deals said that “user experience and transaction security are our guiding priorities as we actively work towards gradually introducing multiple payment methods on our platforms”. For now, there is no exact date when WeChat Pay will be integrated into all Alibaba’s apps but this is expected to happen soon.
Speaking about the decision to allow other payment services on its platforms, an Alibaba spokesperson said that the company plans to “continue to find common ground with our peers in the platform to better serve Chinese consumers”.
Alibaba and its affiliate company Ant Group, has been facing a series of changes borne out of regulators desire to regulate them. One of the most recent decisions from regulators will see Ant Group’s payment service AliPay broken into separate businesses.
Tencent is also expected to integrate multiple payment services, such as Ant Group’s AliPay in the coming weeks and is yet to say anything on the latest development.