Chinese tech giant Alibaba said it has applied to Tencent to bring bargain online shopping platform Taobao Deals to WeChat as a mini-program, according to a report by tech media outlet 36kr on March 25.
Pinduoduo and JD.com, both backed by Tencent, already have WeChat mini programs providing access to consumers who don’t want to download their apps to buy. Competitor Alibaba hasn’t had any yet.
Under this initiative, Taobao Deals will accept transactions that use online payment service WeChat Pay, which is the main rival of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group’s Alipay. Alibaba, the parent company of the South China Morning Post, has long barred the use of WeChat Pay on its Chinese retail platforms, including Tmall and Taobao Marketplace. Transactions on Tencent’s WeChat have also been exclusive to the platform’s own payment service.
The marks a major e-commerce collaboration between the two large Chinese tech giants.Bloomberg reported last week that Alibaba planned to launch Taobao Deals Mini Program on WeChat in response to increasing regulatory demands from China's anti-monopoly authorities.
Earlier, the site Yibangdongli said that Taobao Tejiaban told merchants to sign up with Tencent’s MyBank, which is needed to clear transactions from the mini program via WeChat Pay. The blog Zoumacaijing shared a screenshot of the mini program, with the Taobao Tejieban logo and Chinese name Jianzhile.
While the WeChat move could make Taobao Deals more competitive against Pinduoduo, which has enjoyed huge success on the ubiquitous social network, joining the platform is not enough to give Taobao an advantage over its rival “as Pinduoduo is already there”, Tanner of China Skinny said. “The advantage [for Taobao Deals] is that it will be found across more touchpoints with the Alibaba and WeChat platforms.”