In order to level the playing field and stop monopoly practices, Chinese regulators ordered Alibaba to adopt Tencent’s WeChat Pay on its platform, CNBC and other news outlets reported on Tuesday (September 28).
“Removal of external link barriers [among different Apps] can reduce operating costs for merchants and bring convenience to customers, ”Zhang Yong, CEO of Alibaba, said in a conference call last month, the Global Times reported.
He added that Alibaba would also strive to cooperate more with other platforms in an interconnectivity effort.
See also: Chinese regulator orders tech companies to open “walled gardens”
Tencent is also opening its platform to Alibaba and told its users last week that users can use external links in chat settings.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a statement demanding that all platforms in China unblock external links.
Zhao Zhiguo, spokesperson for MIIT, said that “restricting the identification, analysis and normal access to web links without justifiable reasons affects the user experience, infringes the rights of users and disrupts the market order “.
He added that the ministry has received numerous complaints from consumers regarding the matter.
“Ensuring normal access to legitimate web links is the basic requirement for internet development,” Zhao said.
See: Crackdown on big tech in China could hamper innovation
Chinese regulators have cracked down on tech companies and are working to stamp out anti-competitive practices and increase data privacy with new laws. Companies like Alibaba and Tencent have historically blocked their mutual ties, a practice called “walled gardens” by analysts.
On a recent earnings conference call, Tencent Chairman Martin Lau said Internet regulation is a “global trend” that is occurring in the United States and Europe and is not limited to ” China”.
He added that China is “a little ahead in terms of implementing a more structural regulatory framework” and that more regulations will be forthcoming.