Tencent Tech, 2/17/14
Chinese third-party payment processor Alipay and Tencent's (0700.HK) WeChat (Weixin) mobile instant messaging platform have confirmed that Alipay will shut down its application programming interface (API) payment gateway for WeChat's public accounts platform. Alipay is no longer accepting merchant applications for Alipay API access from WeChat public account operators. WeChat public accounts already approved by Alipay will not be immediately affected, but will see Alipay support halted once existing contracts expire.
Tencent's own WeChat Pay ("Weixin Zhifu") payment platform is not yet fully available to WeChat public account operators, and Tencent requires that merchants pay a reported RMB 50,000 security deposit in order to activate WeChat pay services on public accounts. Due to this large barrier to entry, many small and medium-sized merchants on WeChat's public accounts platform have traditionally opted to accept payments only via Alipay.
In July, 2013, Alipay parent Alibaba Group blocked API access to marketing services offered by members of its Taoke Taobao affiliate network on WeChat.
Editor's Note: For more background on this topic, please see "Alibaba Shuts Down API for WeChat Public Accounts" MD 8/01/13 issue.