Baidu goes after Alibaba stronghold with mobile payments app


Baidu Wallet (BIDU +1.1%) offers a smorgasbord of mobile payments services to consumers willing to link their bank accounts to the app. Among them: P2P and virtual goods payments, the ability to add SIM card credit, and the ability to make payments to vendors supporting Baidu's Baifubao payments platform.

The product is aimed squarely at Alibaba's dominant Alipay platform, which handled over $150B in 2013 transactions and claims 300M+ registered users (100M+ mobile).

Unsurprisingly (given the rivalry between the three companies), Tencent also competes in this space: It added a payments solution to its WeChat mobile messaging platform in 2011, and recently opened it up to 3rd-party merchants.

Baidu launched a wealth management platform last October (Alibaba and Tencent have rival offerings), and applied for a banking license in March. At the same time, China's central bank (perhaps at the prodding of state-owned banks) is thinking of placing curbs on the ability of Internet giants to handle offline transactions.

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