Alibaba Group Holding’s online-payment affiliate has struck a deal with Sina Corp to launch an online-payment service, as competition rises between the e-commerce company and rival Tencent Holdings.
Alipay says the new service allows users of Sina’s Weibo microblog service to make online and offline payments through their Alipay accounts. The move follows Alibaba’s deal last year to acquire an 18% stake in Weibo from Sina for USD586m.
Alibaba is China’s largest electronic commerce company by sales volume. It has branched out in recent months into social media with its Weibo investment and into financial services by offering money-market-like investment products to savers.
Rival Tencent maintains the fast-growing WeChat mobile texting app, which has its own online-payment service that allows users to pay through their bank accounts. It has also increasingly offered financial services and is investing more in its e-commerce operations.
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