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Tencent closing gap with Alibaba in $3.8tn mobile payment market

Peer-to-peer money transfer gains favor among China's offline merchants

A notice promoting Tencent's WeChat Pay at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- WeChat operator Tencent Holdings is quietly gaining on Alibaba Group Holding's dominance in China's e-payment market, which totaled 24.8 trillion yuan ($3.8 trillion) in the year ending Sept. 30, by tapping offline merchants and leading in peer-to-peer cash transfers.

The Shenzhen-based company had 39.8% of the country's third-party mobile-payment market as of the second quarter, which stood at 7.1 trillion yuan for the period, compared with Alipay's 54.5%, according to Chinese internet consultant iResearch. In the same period in 2014, Tencent had 8.9% of the market, while Alipay dominated with 79.9%.

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