Ant Financial will fully integrate Alipay’s mini-program feature with Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo, the company announced on Tuesday at an event in Hangzhou.

Why it matters: Mini-programs have become strategically important to the Alipay platform since its introduction a year ago. Merchants on the Alipay mini-program platform will benefit from tapping Weibo’s vast social network to expand marketing campaign reach.

  • Alipay and Weibo have around 250 million shared users.

Details: According to Ant Financial, Weibo will be able to leverage its vast social network to enable Alipay merchants to expand their reach to more users. Alipay mini program’s rich ecosystem of services will help merchants on Weibo convert content into services and products.

  • For example, fast-food chain Burger King, which is already connected to e-commerce site Tmall’s mini programs as well as food delivery platforms and Koubei and navigation app AutoNavi, could use Weibo to widen the reach of its marketing campaigns.
  • According to Tian Liying, vice president of Weibo, the partnership will avail companies and merchants the ability to connect users, content, services, and social media. Alipay’s mini-program can add value to a wide range of content verticals on Weibo such as travel, medical and health, e-commerce, and food and beverages, Tian added.
  • Consumers’ fragmented attention span has created new challenges for traditional business models, said Guan Zhong, general manager of Alipay open ecosystem. Mini programs, which allow users to hop back and forth between apps and are designed for quick usage, help bridge that fragmentation. Additionally, the data-driven mini-program platform enables businesses to provide the right products and services to the right crowd at the right time, Guan said.

Context: Alipay introduced the mini-program feature a year ago and has committed a substantial amount of resources to building out an ecosystem. According to Ant Financial, Alipay amassed over a million mini-programs over the past year and accumulated 500 million monthly active users, quickly catching up with rival WeChat which got a head start.

  • Alipay’s mini-program platform is integrated with more than 10 applications within Alibaba’s ecosystem, including AutoNavi, Tmall, and enterprise app DingTalk.
  • Alipay and Weibo had previously integrated their platforms to a limited degree, enabling features such as the ID login feature.

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email:

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