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This article was published on January 7, 2014

E-commerce giant Alibaba integrates its payment service with ‘China’s Twitter’ Sina Weibo

E-commerce giant Alibaba integrates its payment service with ‘China’s Twitter’ Sina Weibo
Kaylene Hong
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Kaylene Hong

Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.

Imagine Twitter replete with shopping and payment options — that’s exactly what China’s version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, is looking like as it steps into 2014.

Yesterday we reported that the latest iOS app update for Sina Weibo introduced a feature known as ‘Weibo Payment,’ and speculated that the payments feature was a natural progression from Sina Weibo’s link with e-commerce giant Alibaba. Today Alibaba has revealed details of how it is integrating its payment service, Alipay, into Weibo.

With the ‘Weibo Payment’ feature, users can connect their Alipay accounts with their Weibo accounts and buy items without having to log in. This adds on to the collaboration from last year, when the two teamed up to launch a “Weibo-Taobao” platform to make it easier for customers on Weibo to shop on e-commerce site Taobao, basically allowing users to buy products directly on the Twitter-like microblogging platform.

Wang Gaofei, the general manager of Sina Weibo, said that the co-existence of the social network with a convenient in-app payments solution would be a “potent combination” for social e-commerce. It would allow users to easily buy products discovered through their friends, and even share their views on a product with their Weibo fans after they have made a purchase — all without having to exit the app.

Alipay and Weibo are also working to integrate their QR code systems to boost the online-to-offline shopping experience of users. Alibaba says that in the future, “Weibo users will be able to scan QR codes displayed on their smartphones to buy products offline — for example at vending machines or store registers.”

Previously, Sina already admitted that it believes time spent on Weibo is down because of competition from rival Tencent’s WeChat messaging service. As e-commerce is shaping up to be the future for chat apps, and as WeChat has already taken a huge step forward in this aspect, it is therefore no surprise that Sina also wants to boost its Weibo app with other services as well.