Alipay and WeChat Pay in China

Today, the two biggest third-party payment facilities come from Chinese business giant Alibaba and tech giant WeChat. Their respective payment platforms, Alipay and WeChat Pay, have actually revolutionized the way the Chinese people pay for things. These two China online payment facilities have made buying and selling more transparent and more convenient. These payment platforms are transforming China into a cashless society where transactions are commonly carried out via the phone in your pocket.

The Origin of Wechat Pay

WeChat Pay started off as an offspring of popular instant messaging app WeChat. It was created so that people can actually “instant message” payments. Through WeChat’s partnership with banks, WeChat users could use the WeChat Pay’s facility to pay bills, buy groceries, and pretty much anything using their phones.

WeChat Pay even targets those who want to send monetary gifts to friends and family. This is through WeChat Pay’s “Red Envelope” (lucky money) feature. With this feature, users can send over money to friends in their WeChat circle.

In a nutshell, WeChat Pay was created solely for UX. It was made to be integrated into the social engagement system of WeChat, making payments easier and more convenient.

The Origin of Alipay

Alipay, on the other hand, was created just so that customers on the Alibaba website can have an easier time with their transactions. Alipay was made purely for business to cater to both the buyers and the sellers in completing transactions faster.

Now, Alipay became a regular payment facility that services not only products in Alibaba. With Alipay, users can pay for other things as well such as bills and groceries. Through their evolutions, Alipay and WeChat Pay became the two biggest payment service giants, and they both became pretty similar in nature.

Going Global

Due to the purchasing power of Chinese outbound tourists, the two payment rivals have become widely accepted in popular travel destinations. Alipay is accepted in 26 countries across Europe, North America, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. WeChat Pay can handle payments in 12 currencies in 15 countries and regions.

They are also trying to break into new markets. Since 2015, Ant Financial has invested in a series of e-wallets for Asia including Paytm (India), Kakao Pay (South Korea) and HelloPay (Singapore). Tencent is also expanding into South Africa and Australia. Both have a presence in the United States through partnerships with local providers like First Data and CITCON.

At this stage, it’s still hard to say who will win in the end, but it’s safe to say that they’ll continue to innovate mobile payment systems and propel the cashless trend in China and the rest of the world.

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