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Alipay vs WeChat, The Mobile Payment Giants!

Mobile payments in China

In China, mobile payments have made large inroads thanks to rapid smartphone adoption and the absence of alternative payment methods. This year, we expect 57.4 million people in the country will use mobile payments, making up  more than 45% of the population. That’s an increase of more than 10% from the last year.

WeChat vs Alipay

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China is one of the most advanced countries in the world with regard to technology. Because of their technological advancements in FinTech (Financial Technology), they’re actually close to becoming a totally cashless society.
Today, the two biggest third-party payment facilities come from Chinese business giant Alibaba and tech giant WeChat. Their respective payment platforms, Alipay and WeChat Pay, have actually revolutionized the way the Chinese people pay for things. These two China online payment facilities have made buying and selling more transparent and more convenient.
The only question that begs an answer is which one is better? In order to know, we’ll have to take a closer look at the two.

The Origin of WeChat Pay

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WeChat Pay started off as an offspring of popular instant messaging app WeChat. It was created so that people can actually “instant message” payments. Through WeChat’s partnership with banks, WeChat users could use the WeChat Pay’s facility to pay bills, buy groceries, and pretty much anything using their phones.
WeChat Pay even targets those who want to send monetary gifts to friends and family. This is through WeChat Pay’s “Red Envelope” or “Ang Pau” feature. With this feature, users can send over money to friends in their WeChat circle.
In a nutshell, WeChat Pay was created solely for UX. It was made to be integrated into the social engagement system of WeChat, making payments easier and more convenient.

The Origin of Alipay

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Alipay, on the other hand, was created just so that customers on the Alibaba website can have an easier time with their transactions. Alipay was made purely for business to cater to both the buyers and the sellers in completing transactions faster.
Now, Alipay became a regular payment facility that services not only products in Alibaba. With Alipay, users can pay for other things as well such as bills and groceries. Through their evolutions, Alipay and WeChat Pay became the two biggest payment service giants, and they both became pretty similar in nature.
WeChat Users Vs. Alipay Users
Statistics showed that WeChat Pay and Alipay are in a very close battle with one having the upper hand over the other in their own respective field.

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With regard to a total number of users, WeChat Pay still stands over Alipay getting a total of 806 million monthly active users as compared to Alipay’s 450 million monthly users.
When it comes to total market share though, Alipay still has the upper hand. Alipay still had 50.42% of the market share in 2016 while WeChat Pay had 38.12%. It’s pretty interesting to note though that Alipay’s market share dropped from 74.92% in 2015 to 50.42% in 2016. This was a 24.5% drop in one year!
In contrast, WeChat’s market share actually went up in 2016. From 11.43% in 2015, it reached 38.12% in 2016 which is a 26.69% increase! It seems like the trend is that the gap between the two is lessening and WeChat Pay may actually catch up to Alipay soon.

Alipay vs WeChat pay

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While the numbers do tell us WeChat Pay might beat Alipay, the battle will still be on who gives the best services. Now, WeChat Pay and Alipay both have their own respective fields of focus and differences.
With regard to their financial services, both offer pretty much the same things such as money transferring, bill payments, e-commerce, service purchasing, etc. The main difference would be in their marketing strategies. WeChat Pay, following the social nature of Wechat, focuses on the social aspect of e-commerce and overall social UX. Alipay, on the other hand, follows the business-like nature of Alibaba and puts the focus on payments for retail, eCommerce, wholesale, and other forms of selling.
Other differences between the two include the currencies supported, devices supported, and transaction fees. Currently, Alipay supports all smartphones and desktops while WeChat Pay only supports Smartphones. Alipay supports 18 world currencies while WeChat Pay only supports 9.
In transaction fees, WeChat Pay charges 0.1% for withdrawals more than $153 and Alipay charges 0.1% for withdrawals more than $2,897. This is to encourage the users not to withdraw so much.

The Verdict

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By comparing the WeChat wallet vs Alipay, we can observe that they both have their own respective pros and cons with regard to the fields of focus that each has. This actually makes them evenly matched on the market. While they are both evenly poised at the moment, things can change in the next years. We can already see that WeChat Pay is already starting to grab more of the market share of Alipay.
However, with regard to retail, wholesale, and eCommerce, Alipay still remains strong. This doesn’t mean that WeChat Pay won’t try to enter and take over Alipay’s territory. While that hasn’t happened yet, WeChat Pay continues to be the most user-friendly social payment system while Alipay remains the best eCommerce payment facility for retailers and wholesalers.

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