By Jing Yang and Keith Zhai
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA -4.04% and Tencent Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207908563/composite TCEHY -2.56% are considering moves to gradually open up their services to one another, as Beijing’s tech crackdown makes it harder for China’s two online giants to maintain the virtual barriers they have built in recent years.
That would mark a big shift for China’s consumer internet, which has largely split into two camps built around the arch rivals. The restrictions mean, for example, that customers can’t use Tencent’s payment system to buy goods on an Alibaba platform.
Now, both companies are separately working on plans to loosen those curbs, according to people familiar with the matter. The system could make life more convenient for consumers—and help spur greater competition—but will also mean the duo will have more insight into each other’s businesses.
Initial steps from Alibaba could include introducing Tencent’s WeChat Pay to Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall, some of the people said.
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