Business / Companies

Tencent removes Uber's presence on WeChat in escalation of ride-sharing war

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-05 21:46

BEIJING - Tencent, the operator of the popular messaging app WeChat, has shut down dozens of WeChat accounts for promoting the services of Uber, a ride-sharing app.

The move came after Uber's rivals, including Lyft in the United States, GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia and Didi Kuaidi in China, had announced a global ride-sharing partnership to vie with Uber. Tencent had a major stake in Didi Kuaidi.

Users of Uber who posted the shutdown of the Uber-related accounts have voiced their doubt about Tencent's move, saying it is using its monopoly to fend off Uber. But Tencent said the closed accounts had violated rules and were suspected of collecting users' private information, according to a Saturday report from Beijing Times.

Uber also took a counter-measure on Weibo, another social networking site backed by Alibaba, calling on its users to stand on its side.

Wang Yichao, vice director of Uber's public relations, said on its verified Weibo account that Tencent fell short of providing evidence to support its accusation that Uber is doing "malicious marketing activities."

It is not the first time that a popular Internet service has been blocked by another. Taobao, an online-shopping platform operated by Alibaba, blocked visits from WeChat in 2013. Tencent later blocked the music sharing of Xiami Music, in which Alibaba has a stake., with which Tencent has signed a cooperation deal, also blocks Alibaba's payment platform Alipay.

Before this, Uber's official WeChat account was already blocked by Tencent in March.

Both Uber and Didi Kuaidi claim to have gained the upper hand in China. Uber said last month that China is likely to surpass the United States as its largest market by the end of this year while Didi Kuaidi said it has taken 83.2 percent of the market share in the third quarter of 2015.

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