China’s $5.5tn mobile payments sector – which is 50 times the size of the US’s $112bn market – is being shaken up by one-time underdog Tencent, which is snatching market share from rival Alibaba. Alipay, which Alibaba launched in 2004 as a PayPal-type service to facilitate payments on its Taobao ecommerce platform, has long dominated China’s mobile payments. But the Financial Times reports its share of the market had fallen to nearly half by the end of last year while Tencent’s rose to more than a third. Alibaba had a 54% market share in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with 71% in the third quarter of 2015, according to the latest data from consultancy Analysys. Tencent’s share rose to 37% against 16% in the comparable periods. ApplePay, which launched in China early last year, did not feature in the top 10.
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