What Alipay offered to its local partners was not only money but technology and experience on how to enhance business. Take Paytm for example, before Alipay’s investment it only provided a single gateway payment service and had no account system. Then it started to expand and develop more and more functions, introducing similar services like balance of treasure, sesame credit, building offline payment system, all of which had made Paytm the number one electronic wallet in India and the third largest in the world.
Technology capacity has played a crucial role between Alipay's and WeChat’s investment competition in overseas markets. A typical example is South Korea, whose largest instant messaging tool Kakaotalk turned to Alipay in 2017 and then set up a mobile finance subsidiary, Kakaopay. Despite the fact that in 2012, Kakaotalk introduced Tencent as its second largest shareholder. The reason behind this was Alipay’s technology expertise in the financial field.
Globalisation through investment and cooperation with local companies has been proven by Alipay to be a successful strategy. WeChat also saw this pattern. It had invested in the localised social app Hike, which only ranked 10th. This situation was not unique as in India where Facebook, whose market value exceeds 500 billion US dollar, ranks first, it is difficult for Tencent to get a significant foothold in that market. By contrast, Alipay goes much further in the global market through powerful technology expertise and localisation.
Localisation in Hong Kong is an obvious achievement and internationalisation is on the way. Li clearly recognised the rules behind this. Although Hong Kong is a highly developed market, it also confronts a bottleneck. Li, as an ambitious and sophisticated businessman, saw the tendency and opportunities. His giving up on WeChat reveals how brutal the competition is.
This cooperation has also become an excellent window for observing WeChat’s and Alipay’s overseas market strategy.
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