Alibaba ditches WeChat, joins with Sina

Alibaba Group’s online shopping sites – namely Tmall and Taobao – temporarily blocked ties with Wechat (which goes by Weixin on the mainland) yesterday after it found sellers using the messaging app to lure shoppers away from Taobao marketplace and payment process.

Hours after the announcement, Alibaba said it was launching a Taobao-friendly version for Sina Weibo – which the e-commerce site holds an 18% stake.

Lake Zeng, Weixin spokesman, declined to comment on Alibaba’s decisions.

"We do not comment on other company's business decisions. We respect and support the provision of services by third-parties through our Weixin platform as long as these services align with our principles of creating value and enriching experiences for our users.”

According to China Daily, Taobao retailers can share information about goods with Weibo audience via the new platform; and shoppers can log into the market via their social media account as well. Only a web version is available now.

Though Alibaba said that the two announcements are unrelated, the move raises questions about whether the e-commerce giant’s true motive is to protect its own database by deepening ties with a social media outlet with which it already has ties.