War escalates as Weibo bans users promoting WeChat

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BEIJING, Nov 27 – The war between Sina Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat, two big players in China’s social media game, escalated when Sina Weibo began to ban users promoting WeChat on its service on late Tuesday.

The move came after WeChat shut down the promotion channel of Kuaidi Dache, a taxi-hailing service under Weibo’s stakeholder Alibaba, which has gone head-to-head with Tencent on all fronts, including Internet finance and e-commerce.

In 2013, Taobao, an online-shopping platform operated by Alibaba, blocked visits from WeChat. Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay, later banned WeChatters.

Sina Weibo did not single out WeChat as the target, only saying in a statement that the ban will come down on users aggressively spreading QR code and other marketing information. QR code scanning is a main promotion method for WeChat.

It is Sina Weibo’s strongest move against WeChat, which has been stealing both users and their time from it. According to a report from China Internet Network Information Center, Weibo’s users fell nine percent to 281 million in 2013.

Though still boasting a large number of users, microblogging platforms are losing appeal among users. Tencent currently also has its own microblogging platform Tencent Weibo, but has already ceased certain functions.