Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. Shutterstock.
Alibaba’s Taobao Deals app, which it launched in March last year in order to compete with low-cost group-buying rival Pinduoduo, will open a mini-programme within the WeChat eco-system, according to multiple Chinese media reports.
This means Taobao Deals shoppers will be able to use WeChat Pay in order fulfil orders made through the mini-programme, marking the first time WeChat Pay (the main rival to Alibaba’s Alipay in China’s digital payments space) will be made a payment option for any Alibaba-owned marketplace.
Neither Alibaba, nor Tencent, immediately responded to BoF’s requests to comment for this story.
Taobao Deals facilitates “customer-to-manufacturer” shopping, allowing its users to order products direct from factories at lower prices. By November last year, it had accumulated more than 100 million annual active buyers.
Alibaba and Tencent joining forces, even in this small way, is a significant change in posture for two of China’s biggest digital players, which have long competed for market share over a number of business segments. Tencent is a major backer in JD.com, long Alibaba’s fiercest e-commerce platform rival in the China market.
But that old dynamic is being forced to evolve by new entrants to China’s digital space, including Pinduoduo, Douyin and Kuaishou, all of whom have made their e-commerce ambitions clear. Some have also begun dabbling in their own digital payment platforms.
Pinduoduo released a better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings data earlier this week, with its annual active buyers reaching 788.4 million, surpassing Alibaba for the first time.