Tencent’s popular messaging app WeChat has opened up access to rival platforms, allowing users to open external links within one-to-one direct messages on WeChat, according to a statement released by the company on Monday. WeChat will also start opening up to shopping links from third-party platforms within WeChat group chats as long as they “ensure security and user experience”. Alibaba and ByteDance are among the Chinese tech giants that have previously accused Tencent of fending off competition by blocking external links within its mega app. The company removed the blocks in response to an order from regulators to end the long-standing practice. [WeChat press release, in Chinese]