Baidu Enters China’s Competitive Mobile Wallet Market (April 17, 2014)
Baidu Inc., China’s version of Google, has entered the mobile wallet arena, pitting the country’s most popular search engine against the likes of Alibaba and Tencent Holding Inc., both of which launched mobile wallets last year. Baidu Wallet enables consumers to make P2P money transfers, top up SIM cards, pay for virtual goods in video games and purchase products and services from merchants accepting Baifubao, Baidu’s third party online payment platform. The wallet also offers consumers financial management tools.
Gaining a toehold with Chinese consumers might prove difficult, according to reports, as Alibaba’s Alipay currently holds the lion’s share of the online payment market and Tencent is viewed as a potential disruptor because of its WeChat messenger service and online payment portal. As popularity of mobile payments grows in China, its central bank has been keeping a close eye on its developments, going so far as to propose mobile payment caps. Since then, the People’s Bank of China said it’s open to modifying the proposal, following objections from e-commerce firms and consumers.