Caixin
Oct 19, 2021 07:37 PM
BUSINESS

China’s Warring Internet Giants Start Dismantling Their Barriers

What’s new: Internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are starting to tear down the walls that divide them.

Shoppers buying goods on Alibaba’s internet shopping platform Taobao will soon be able to share their shopping carts on group chats and Facebook-like “Moments” pages in China’s most-used social media app, Tencent-run WeChat, for the first time, Caixin has learned. Alibaba is testing the new function and expects to launch it on Oct. 27, ahead of the annual “Double Eleven,” China’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza, the company told Caixin. Tencent declined to comment.

The background: The possibility of sharing Taobao links with groups in WeChat marks the latest development in Chinese internet firms’ response to regulatory demands to stop blocking each other’s links.

China’s internet giants have for years blocked rivals’ links or prevented users of their apps from using another firm’s payment service to stymie the growth of their competitors. But cracks started appearing in these “walls” after the government demanded that internet firms stop such practices, saying they harm users’ rights and disrupt the market. Companies including Tencent, with more than 1.2 billion monthly active users on WeChat, and Alibaba, with 939 million mobile monthly active users of its Chinese retail shopping services, were told to come up with plans to dismantle their walls. In September, WeChat stopped blocking Taobao links in one-on-one private chats, and a few Alibaba-owned apps started accepting WeChat Pay, Tencent’s payment service and a rival to Alibaba’s Alipay.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Related — Cover Story: China’s Assault on Big Tech’s ‘Walled Gardens’

Contact reporter Zhang Yukun (yukunzhang@caixin.com) and editor Nerys Avery (nerysavery@caixin.com)

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