Chinese video platform Bilibili is ramping up efforts to expand its business into the domestic payments market and could be launching its own online payment system in the near future.
Its parent company, Shanghai Hode Information Technology Co., has registered the domain names “bilibilipay.com” and “bilibilipay.cn” and was given approval for an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license on Monday, according to Chinese media outlet Tech Planet. The ICP license is a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) that allows China-based websites to operate domestically.
The Nasdaq-listed firm has also been recruiting payment business-related positions on its website since November last year. On a current job posting for a senior payment platform development engineer published on Dec. 9, candidates will be “responsible for the core technology research and development of the Bilibili payment platform.”
The firm is reportedly aiming for a secondary listing in Hong Kong in an attempt to raise more than $2 billion, according to CNBC quoting an unidentified source.
Bilibili, together with ByteDance, Meituan, Pinduoduo and Didi, are the latest companies to vie for a share of China’s payments sector which is currently dominated by Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, amid the Chinese government’s crackdown on monopoly practices in the country’s internet sector.
ByteDance, the owner of popular short-video app TikTok, acquired Chinese third-party payment service UIPay in September. It has also been hiring globally, and notably in Singapore, for a team to build cross-border payments solutions.
Online deals giant Pinduoduo unveiled its Duoduo Wallet payment app in December while ride-hailing firm Didi launched Didi Pay in July, an e-payment platform that can be used for the company’s services including ride and taxi hailing, bike sharing, and public transportation. Tencent-backed on-demand services company Meituan and Didi have both rolled out microloan services.
Obtaining third-party payment business licenses through acquisition has become common practice among Chinese internet giants since the central bank stopped issuing new ones indefinitely in 2016.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a new executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese mobile apps, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.
The order, which also includes Tencent QQ, QQ Wallet, CamScanner, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office, will take effect in 45 days. It refers to the apps as security threats.
The new orders follow earlier ones from August that tried to ban transactions with ByteDance and WeChat. Federal courts have blocked the bans from taking effect in September and again in October.
Transaction bans could include barring downloads of the apps from Apple and Google app stores or forbidding all financial transactions, according to legal experts.