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Billionaire Jack Ma Steps Up Battle With WeChat to Win Merchants

  • Alipay seeks to lure 40 million merchants, service providers
  • Alipay expands beyond payments to become a service connector
Jack Ma

Jack Ma

Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Alipay, the mobile payment app owned by billionaire Jack Ma, is stepping up its competition with WeChat to get more of its 900 million users to tap expanded services in everything from real estate purchases to restaurant and cinema bookings.

Alipay is targeting 40 million merchants and services providers in China to use its mini programs – a lite app that sits on top of its interface and provides quick access to an array of services. The company has been experimenting with the initiative for three years and now has about 1.7 million such programs.