Alipay Wallet, the mobile app by Alipay, announced a new version today that has added a WeChat Official Account-like feature. It’s open to businesses including banks and telecom operators. Ten banks, the three Chinese telcos and McCafe of McDonald’s have joined it, according to Alipay.

Users who subscribe to those official accounts can check your bank balance or change smartphone data plans.

It’s obvious that it’s inspired by WeChat Official Accounts. Average WeChat Official Accounts are able to send text/voice messages to their followers or interact with them. The payment capability that came along with WeChat 5.0 makes doing business directly through WeChat possible. Some Chinese financial institutions, airlines, telcos, media, public organizations and other businesses or organizations, with help from WeChat team like special APIs, have turned their official accounts into powerful applications.

Alipay’s focus, however, must be on businesses or services who sell goods or accept payments online.

The new version will be available to everyone later this month. A beta version was released half a month ago. Some 40 million users tried it out, Alipay said.

Alipay has been working on enabling payments anywhere and under any condition. In addition it will enable you to make payments via sound waves when your smartphone loses connection. Previously Alipay had made payments possible when you are at a vending machine, need to split bills with others, or under other conditions.

The scanner with Alipay Wallet now is more powerful that you can bundle your bank account by scanning your bank card, track parcels by scanning the code on a receipt or see all the prices after scanning the code on a good.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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