Sina and Alipay Launches Weibo Payment, to Fight against WeChat Payment

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Sina launched a payment solution, Weibo Payment, together with Alipay today. It is already available with the 4.2 version of Sina Weibo app released yesterday. Fan Zhiming , head of Alifinance for Domestic Market, made it clear that Weibo Payment is aimed at WeChat Payment when it comes to the convenience of making payments online or offline, and social shopping. He asked the audience to “forget about WeChat Payment” at the press conference today, saying Weibo Payment will perform better.

Weibo Payment on the 4.2 version of Weibo mobile app

Weibo Payment on the 4.2 version of Weibo mobile app

Weibo users need to set it up by typing in their Alipay account name and password for the first time. Later on only password is needed.

From now on all the items from Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall shared or shown as ads on Sina Weibo will have a “buy” button that will lead users to make payments directly with Alipay.

Any Taobao item shown on Sina Weibo will includes a Buy button.

Any Taobao item shown on Sina Weibo will include a Buy button.

Not only can the Weibo Payment be used for buying items online, it also supports payments at offline businesses who have Alipay accounts to receive money. Payments at offline merchants will be through QRcode. QRcodes will be made available for payments with both Weibo app and Alipay Wallet app. The difference is, with Sina Weibo app, you can follow the merchant’s Sina Weibo account after the completion of a payment, or share the item onto Weibo.

A user can also subscribe to e-coupons or loyalty programs provided by merchants. In the Weibo app there now is a place for storing all the loyalty programs or offers.

Businesses who own Sina Weibo accounts now can accept payments, engage their customers with loyalty programs and do CRM. There are 400,000 business accounts on Sina Weibo. The convenience of payments must encourage purchases within Sina ecosystem.

Ubox, a Chinese vending machine provider, has added Sina Weibo-Alipay payment. The solution will first be available at restaurants and be introduced to businesses of other categories later, according to Sina.

Previously Sina Weibo provided a in-house developed payment service Weibo Wallet. So far it’s not widely adopted. When asked how Sina would deal with its own payment service, Wang Gaofei, head of Sina Weibo, implied it would be more used for payments for  Sina’s financial products. Sina has rolled out credit payments service that allows a users to pay for virtual items on credit.

Sina pointed out earlier that their payment and future financial services would be targeted at mobile. 76.5% Weibo users log in Weibo through mobile devices, according to a Sina Weibo report. 88% of Weibo users ever made payments through mobile devices as of 2013. 78.3% of the mobile payment users use Alipay.

Alibaba, the parent company of Alipay, made a strategic investment in Sina Weibo last year, with not only cash but also a promise of bringing in no less than $380 million worth of advertising revenue for Sina Weibo through displaying Taobao/Tmall items in the next three years.

Shortly after that user accounts on either platform can use the services on the other after a setup. 48% daily active Weibo users have integrated their Alibaba accounts.Then the two launched a Weibo for retailers on Alibaba’s marketplace that they can share items directly to Sina Weibo from Taobao retailer system — now Weibo users can buy their items directly at a Weibo message. Hundreds of thousands retailers have been on board.

Alipay Wallet will launch a major update, version 8.0, on 10th this month. It has been working hard in order to be the first choice for users to make payments in the offline world. As of last month, 20,000 cabs accepted Alipay and 50,000 users used it to pay for taxi fares. As Chinese New Year is coming and buying train tickets is a pain to so many Chinese, the app reached partnership with 12306.cn, the state-owned online train ticket seller.