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Its main competitor, We Chat, belongs to the social and gaming giant Tencent.Alipay and We Chat are less like individual apps than entire ecosystems.If you live in the United States, you are by now accustomed to relinquishing your data to corporations.
What it did have by the end of 2011 were 356 million smartphone users.
One day a new icon appeared on Liu’s Alipay home screen. The name, like that of Alipay’s parent company, evoked the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, in which the words magically unseal a cave full of treasure.
When Liu touched the icon, he was greeted by an image of the Earth.
If he wanted to, he could access Airbnb, Uber, or Uber’s Chinese rival Didi, entirely from inside Alipay.
It was as if Amazon had swallowed e Bay, Apple News, Groupon, American Express, Citibank, and You Tube—and could siphon up data from all of them.