Alibaba and Tencent extend their web battle to gas station
China's two largest Internet companies have teamed up with the country's oil and gas giants to take their battle from the web to the fuel station.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its partners agreed to arm China's biggest oil and gas producer China National Petroleum Corp. with its full set of Internet-based services. That follows rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. securing a stake in China's biggest fuel producer and distributor.
Alibaba's deal -- spanning collaborations on cloud computing, mobile payments and online finance -- will help the ecommerce emporium tap into CNPC's network of 20,000 fuel stations.
Tencent in August 2014 teamed up with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., which owns more than 30,000 fuel stations around the country, to work together in areas including mobile payments and media marketing.
"Alibaba and Tencent are both trying to boost usage of their payments services via these deals," Marie Sun, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Morningstar Investment Service, said by phone.
"These state-owned companies have massive channels and many outlets."
The rivalry between Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, and Tencent's Pony Ma spans more than a decade as both companies expanded from their initial webbased shopping and social media bases to online payment and location-based services.