Chinese online retailer Jingdong, which owns the e-commerce site JD.com, announced officially today that its customers will no longer be able to log in to its website with their Sina Weibo accounts once an agreement between the two ends, Tencent Tech reports.

Another Chinese news outlet pegs this date of expiry as September 25. After that, there will not be any existing working relationship between the two sites. The announcement has already been posted on JD.com for those who log in via their Sina Weibo account.

Jingdong reportedly said it is ending its relationship with Sina Weibo to encourage its customers to set up a JD.com account to “facilitate a more direct and better experience on the website, increasing user interaction”.

This reason does not seem convincing though, given that customers can still choose to log in via other social networking accounts including Tencent’s QQ and Sohu.

Instead, Jingdong’s move comes as its e-commerce rival Alibaba in April this year grabbed 18 percent of Twitter-like microblogging platform Sina Weibo for $586 million. This hints at the fact that Jingdong is drawing battle lines between itself and Alibaba — reducing its dependence on the latter to zero.

Alibaba and JD.com are in an intense competition for customers

The rivalry between the two companies has been heating up as they race neck-and-neck in a bid to attract more consumers. In the second quarter of 2013, figures from iResearch China show that Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace took the leadership position among B2C platform websites, recording a 50.6 percent market share calculated according to gross merchandise volume, while JD.com took second position with 17.1 percent.

On the other hand, JD.com ranked number one in the independent B2C market with a 43.9 percent market share according to gross merchandise volume. The independent market has a different profit model from B2C platforms — the former earning money mainly via commissions while the latter via direct sales of goods.

Jingdong claims that there will not be much impact once it pulls its Sina Weibo integration, given that those who do so only make up a fraction of its entire customer base — but one thing is clear: as battle lines are drawn, consumers seem to be getting the brunt of the inconvenience as they have to set up more different accounts.

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