The technology world’s most bruising battle for supremacy is taking place in China. And it could point to Big Tech’s future everywhere else, too.
Tencent Holdings and the Alibaba Group are ratcheting up their no-holds-barred contest to dominate the ways 770 million internet users communicate, shop, get around, entertain themselves and even invest their savings and visit the doctor.
The two titans long ago branched out from their core businesses - games and social media for Tencent, e-commerce for Alibaba - to duke it out in ever more realms of Chinese life. They have competed in messaging, microblogging and delivering takeout. They go head-to-head in video streaming and cloud computing.
Today, their fiercest fight is over digital money kept on smartphones. Mobile payments have transformed the Chinese economy. Both giants, plus Ant Financial, an Alibaba sister firm, are spending big to gobble up pieces of the action.
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