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Tencent vs. Alibaba: Battle extends to bikes and food delivery

Meituan's Mobike purchase is the latest in race for promising services

Mobike had found it harder to attract capital as growth plateaued in China's overcrowded bike-sharing market. (Photo by Yu Nakamura)

GUANGZHOU -- Meituan Dianping's announcement on Wednesday that it will buy bike-sharing company Mobike, both of which are backed by internet titan Tencent Holdings, is the latest move in the battle between Tencent and Alibaba Group Holding to lure customers to their growing service ecosystems.

Tencent and Alibaba share the same strategy: investing in the most promising of the countless online and mobile services that come out of China. They initially limit themselves to a minority interest, but they monitor the growth of each investee and snap them up when the time is right.

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