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Alibaba apps start offering WeChat Pay option after government orders

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SHANGHAI, Sept 28 (Reuters) - China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has begun offering payment services from Tencent Holdings Ltd's WeChat on a number of its apps, after the government ordered major tech firms to stop blocking each other's services and links.

Local tech blog 36Kr reported on Tuesday that users of Alibaba's food delivery app Ele.me, luxury goods app Kaola and e-book app Shuqi can now purchase goods via WeChat Pay, one of China's most popular online payment options.

Alibaba's used-goods marketplace app Xianyu and supermarket app Freshippo have also applied for WeChat Pay integration, the tech blog said.

Alibaba confirmed the contents of the report to Reuters. Previously, the main way users could make payments on those apps was via Alipay, from Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Group.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it had asked internet companies to end a long-standing practice of blocking each other's links and services on their sites. Such practices prevented app users from seamlessly jumping to services between rival companies.

Days later, Tencent's WeChat messaging app started allowing users to access links to rival platforms. Previously, it had not allowed users to click on links sent via chat to, for instance, product listings from Alibaba's Taobao marketplace.

The changes come as authorities continue to tighten regulation in the internet sector.

In April, antitrust regulators fined Alibaba a record $2.75 billion for anti-competitive behaviour. (Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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