For years it has been a norm in China that major internet platforms limit what the users can use to purchase goods so as to ward off competitors’ payment products. But now, that is appearing to change.
The latest tech giant that has joined the bandwagon of bringing down walled payment options is Alibaba. This platform is now allowing users to purchase items on its apps using WeChat Pay and Tencent. Before the new regulations came into place, Alibaba exclusively allowed payments using its own payment service called Alipay.
However, Alibaba recently officially mentioned that they are waiting on the approval of Tencent to bring WeChat Pay to the shopping apps Taobao and Tmall. “User experience and transaction security are our guiding priorities as we actively work towards gradually introducing multiple payment methods on our platforms,” a Taobao spokesperson said. An Alibaba spokesperson added the company will “continue to find common ground with our peers in the platform economy to better serve Chinese consumers.”
Both Tencent and Alibaba had a sort of monopoly over the Chinese internet markets, especially since Tencent-owned WeChat has over a billion users, and Alibaba runs the app Alipay. These two apps could be used to place an order online, which facilitated the whole monopoly in the first place.
However, from this arose the situation where the rival companies would not allow other payment services to operate on their platforms. This led China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to issue a statement that ordered these companies to stop blocking links to other companies’ content.
Following this, Tencent began allowing its users to access external links. On the other hand, there have been new developments with regard to the integration of WeChat Pay with Alibaba. Essentially, this would give the users more choice over using various payment services.