China Mobile Links Up With Alipay In Zhejiang

China Mobile, one of the Big Three integrated telecom operators in the country, is looking to expand its business for a larger share of the 3G market.

Lately, China Mobile’s Zhejiang branch agreed to tie up with Alipay, the third-party online payment arm of Hangzhou-based e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba Group.

Under the partnership, Alipay will provide online payment services for China Mobile customers when they subscribe for mobile phone numbers, telecom services, and customizing mobile phones from China Mobile Zhejiang.

The cooperation is the first one China Mobile has entered into with a third-party online payment platform operator, said market observers. China Mobile, once the outrunner in the Chinese telecom market, used to take charge of every lucrative business itself in the past 2G era.

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“It is wise for the telecom operator to take such a development strategy in the 2G era, but a little bit risky if it continues the strategy in the 3G era, when the market competition gets fiercer and fiercer,” pointed out a market observer, “the company has to learn to share in the new era.” Notably, ahead of China Mobile Zhejiang, some provincial and municipal branches of China Telecom have agreed to work with Alipay, including those in Beijing, Yunnan, Hebei, Sichuan, and Chongqing.

Such a win-win collaboration will pose a threat to China Mobile to some extent, according to an analyst, noting that TD-SCDMA network operator expects to profit from its new partner’s huge user base. Alipay by far has had over 150 million users, of which 14.5 million are in Zhejiang, citing a report unveiled by the third-party online payment company.

China Mobile will lure plenty of Internet users in Zhejiang after teaming up with Alipay, said the analyst, explaining that the Alipay users will be potential China Mobile customers in the 3G era, an age of mobile Internet.

Now that the country has finally marched into the 3G era, telecom operators have to scramble for a larger share of the market in a bid to survive in the formidable competition, according to the analyst, adding that winners in the competition are expected to grow into the bellwether in the global telecom market.

As one of the biggest telecom operators in the country, China Mobile will try every possible means to enlarge its foothold in the country, said the analyst, predicting that the China Mobile-Alipay cooperation will expand nationwide sooner or later.

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