Ant’s Alipay Opens Money Transfers to Users of Tencent’s WeChat

Chinese smartphone users have recently discovered a new function within Alipay, Ant Group’s payment platform, allowing them to transfer funds to contacts on Tencent‘s WeChat app. The topic appeared on a list of hot Weibo searches on October 16, but after experiencing it in person, many said that the function is not as simple as it sounds, and evaluation has been mixed.

The “transfer” page in Alipay shows that WeChat friends have indeed been added as a recipient option, in addition to other Alipay accounts and bank cards. Alipay’s manual customer service said that this new feature was launched in mid-September. As long as the Alipay app is updated to the latest version, it can still be used. It is now in the stage of collecting user feedback and further improvements, mainly for the convenience of people who need to transfer money to other people while not knowing the recipient’s Alipay account.

This function requires Alipay users to share a QR code generated by Alipay to friends on WeChat, QQ, and DingTalk after inputting the transfer amount with no more than 2,000 yuan ($278) in a single transaction. The recipient needs to store the QR code, then use Alipay to scan the QR code to receive the money, or use WeChat to scan the QR code and then move to Alipay to receive it. The funds will enter the recipient’s Alipay account, not the WeChat account.

Before that, transfer function required users to know each other’s Alipay account or bank card number. After the launch of this new feature, some users said that Alipay and WeChat have finally been interconnected, making transfers more convenient when paying rent to landlords, or when the other party does not want to disclose their Alipay account information. However, many netizens reported that this transfer process is cumbersome, and there is no need to do anything extra when Alipay already supports transfers between different accounts directly.

According to the analysis of researchers who have been concerned about the field of financial technology for a long time, this new function is very troublesome for the payee, and it does not bring more convenience to the payer, but only uses WeChat to generate a QR code and use their traffic advantages to spread.

In fact, there are constant calls for the interconnection of the two ecosystems of Alibaba and Tencent in the current market. Just in March of this year, it was reported that Taobao began to use WeChat Pay for internal testing, but only for part of users and products. As early as last November, Taobao’s product links could be opened directly in WeChat, which is regarded as an important step in the interconnection between the two sides. At present, Alibaba‘s food delivery platform supports WeChat Pay.

SEE ALSO: Taobao Tests WeChat Pay Option

In 2019, China’s central bank proposed to promote the interconnection of barcode payment, realizing the mutual recognition of barcodes of different apps and merchants. On September 8 this year, Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the central bank, said at the 2022 China Beijing Digital Finance Forum that in a modern society with highly developed mobile payments, it is even more necessary to break down the barriers between payment tools and improve the efficiency of fund management and consumers’ payment experience. He said that in the future, it is necessary to promote the unification of norms and standards in all aspects, realize the interconnection between the digital RMB system and traditional electronic payment tools.