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Tencent cuts Alipay Wallet's link to WeChat

2015-02-04 08:49 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

China's leading Internet company Tencent Holdings on Tuesday cut off the link between its popular social networking app WeChat and the "red envelope" service of e-commerce giant Alibaba's mobile app Alipay Wallet.

Experts said the move would have a negative impact on the profitability of Alipay Wallet.

Alipay Wallet, a mobile app that allows users to make online payments, launched a new service named "red envelope" on January 26, allowing users to send virtual red envelopes containing cash to other users in the app.

Alipay Wallet set up a function in its app to allow users to send the virtual red envelopes to other users on WeChat on Monday.

Tencent said that it is a malicious marketing campaign which will damage the user experience in WeChat, and "we may discuss the issue if Alipay agrees to connect with the WeChat payment service," news portal sina.com.cn reported on Tuesday.

Tencent canceled links to some third-party platforms to protect users from fake red envelopes and fraud, according to a statement the company sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.

Alipay said on its Sina Weibo on Tuesday that Alipay is providing service for users on WeChat as normal and if users find the Alipay service blocked on WeChat, users can turn to mobile browsers to use Alipay.

It is normal for Tencent to prevent its biggest rival Alibaba from using its own platform for profit, Lu Jingyu, an analyst with Beijing-based consulting firm iResearch, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Alibaba has a big advantage in online payment but lags behind in the social networking app service, which is important for the red envelope service to spread among social networks, Lu said.

Tencent launched its red envelope service on WeChat on January 26, 2014, several days earlier than Spring Festival, when Chinese usually give children red envelopes with money for good luck as a tradition.

During the Spring Festival hoildays in 2014, more than 8 million users participated in Tencent's "red envelope grabbing" spree, Xinhua News Agency reported in February 2014.

This year,Alibaba may join the red envelope promotions through social network platforms such as Sina Weibo, Lu said.

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