Alipay, Tenpay and Baidu wallet are some of the most popular online payment systems in China.

In contrast to Western countries, buying products online in China is different due to one main reason. While Western people prefer to use credit cards for online payments, Chinese shoppers prefer online system payments such as Alipay and Tenpay.


During the third quarter of 2014, the total transaction value of China’s third-party online payment market accounted for more than US$328.1 billion which means a growth of 41.9% year on year and 9.5% quarter on quarter.


Alipay is China’s biggest online payment system with around 50% market share. Alipay was launched in 2004 by Alibaba Group, the e-commerce giant from China.

This online payment system has developed partnerships with at least 19 Chinese national banks and 40 local commercial banks.

Alipay has more than 800 million Chinese accounts and has become the largest mobile payment platform in the world with 80 million transactions per day, including around 45 million payments via Alipay Wallet, its mobile app.


Alipay has been chosen by Chinese consumers as their main payment system to purchase products on e-commerce sites such as Alibaba, Taobao, Tmall, and many others. Alipay provides safe, trustworthy, and convenient online and mobile payment systems to Chinese shoppers because the money is only transferred to the merchant when the shopper has accepted and is satisfied with the product.


Tenpay has been developed in 2005 by Tencent which also owns, a popular social platform in China.

Tenpay is the main competitor of Alipay, however, its market share is significantly lower representing only 20% of the market.

Through Tenpay, companies and consumers can send and receive payments online in a secure way. In addition, this payment system allows users to charge their mobile devices.


However, Tencent has also developed WeChat payment which is expected to overcome Alipay within the next years. WeChat payment enables users to purchase products through the social media platform. Recently, WeChat payment can be used to pay utility bills without leaving the app by associating a credit or a debit card to the app if you have an account in banks that allow it.

Tenpay also has launched a payment system in called QQ Wallet. QQ users come mainly from lower cities and from the countryside while WeChat’s users are from first and second-tier cities and therefore, thanks to QQ wallet, Tenplay has the chance to penetrate in areas where Wechat has not penetrated.

This expansion through the social media platforms will help Tenpay to increase its market share and even surpass Alipay. This will remain possible as long as Tencent Payment system services do not overlap each other and thus provoke a direct competition

Baidu Wallet:

Baidu, China’s largest search engine has launched in 2014 a third-party payment system called Baidu Wallet and has become a strong competitor for Alipay and Tenpay.


Nonetheless, Baidu will focus on payments made via mobile devices. Baidu Wallet doesn’t have an app, rather it will be linked to other Baidu services and apps.


ChinaPay is the exclusive online payment service provider of UnionPay. Users can use ChinaPay to pay bills, for online payments, and for banking services. Through this platform, UnionPay’s cardholders can make secure online purchases.


There are many other Chinese online payment systems such as 99Bill, ChinaPnR, Yeepay, IPS, ChinaBank, and PayEase, however, Alipay, Tenpay, Baidu Wallet, and ChinaPay are the most popular among Chinese online shoppers.

Companies that desire to sell their products online in China must integrate at least one of those online payment systems to gain the trust of Chinese shoppers.

If you are interested in understanding Chinese shoppers’ habits and developing a marketing strategy in China, contact us.


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  1. Thanks for the article Olivier. I have a question about Tenpay- Because Tencent has its own App Store, will this billing system be in conflict with other Android App Stores? i.e. Will a rival App Store reject an app that is using Tenpay and request for another payment system that it favours to be integrated instead?

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