It is a move that is expected to happen sooner or later. Alibaba, the biggest Chinese online marketplace owner who is working hard on mobile commerce too, sensed the challenge a while ago and had blocked webpages from its own marketplaces from being shown within WeChat last year.
But it’s not the first time Tencent entered into Alibaba’s turf. The Chinese instant messaging giant rolled out customer-to-customer & business-to-customer marketplaces and online payments service Tenpay around the time when Taobao marketplace got much traction and beat eBay China.
Now Tencent is inviting all businesses to set up stores onto the WeChat platform. If Tencent does it right this time, I think there are at least two reasons: (1) It built and started promoting WeChat Payment early on that it’s now to many a convenient and trusted mobile payment service; (2) It chooses to open the platform to third parties instead of operating anything on its own — also from them there will be future revenue sources. The two factors were also two of the reasons that brought Alibaba to where it is today.