Sina Weibo Now Lets You Make Payments Via Its iOS App. Competes With WeChat

Sina Weibo, China’s top Twitter-like social network, has updated its iPhone apps with payment feature calling Weibo Wallet.

Messaging apps are no more platforms for chatting alone. In today’s mobile first world, commerce is happening on your finger tips thanks to the Chinese messaging app WeChat that has been a leader in incorporating payment services. Taking a cue from WeChat, China’s version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, is once again taking the same route.

Reported by Tech In Asia, the latest update to Sina Weibo’s iOS app has introduced a feature known as ‘Weibo Payment,’ — or termed ‘Wallet’ within the app, making online payment just a tap away. The introductory splash-screen for the updated Sina Weibo app – now at v4.2 – tells users they can make payments within Weibo for any product that someone shares or links to within the app. It promises that “paying online is just a tap away.”

However, there’s no explanation of how to connect this new Weibo Wallet to any e-payment service or bank card. But sources from Alibaba’s Alipay division confirmed to TIA that Alipay is a part of this new feature, but it’s not yet officially launched, despite appearing in the update Sina Weibo app today. Besides Weibo Wallet “will support both online and offline payments.”

The new feature launch is a progression to the company’s growing strategy to make commerce social and easy. Earlier in the first quarter of 2013, Alibaba has agreed to buy an 18 percent stake in the Sina Corporation’s Weibo for $586 million. So it is an evident move to integrate a pay mechanism on the network considering the platform still witnesses 60.2 million daily active users.

Though it is not one of those first moves by Sina Weibo to integrate payment on its network.  In 2012, Weibo had carried out an experiment by tying up with a startup phone-maker Xiaomi. The small experiment carried out on WeiboPay a similar feature like Weibo Wallet service saw an amazing response with 1.3 million reservations for the phones.

With this new feature Sina Weibo is expecting to spike up the user traction on the platform that is severely being challenged by Tencent’s WeChat messaging service. An Android app update is likely to be rolled out in the near future to add in this payment feature as well.