Alibaba and Tencent claim 1 billion accounts

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China's third-party payment companies, mainly online payment service providers, have been growing rapidly in the past decade.

Alipay, the online payment arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, had a 46.6 percent share of the online payment market last year, followed by Tencent Holdings Ltd's Tenpay, with 20.9 percent.

Alipay had a total of 800 million registered accounts by the end of April, and Tenpay said it had 200 million registered users by the end of last year.

The two players provide payment services mainly for individual users. Others, such as 99bill, provide payment solutions for corporate users.

Both companies have been trying to expand their business portfolio by entering a wider range of services, such as micro loans and mobile payment services.

Third-party payment companies have to apply for a license from the People's Bank of China, the central bank, to conduct services in China. A total of 223 companies received official approval by Jan 8.

PayPal Inc, the online payment arm of online marketplace Ebay Inc, is still waiting for a license after it submitted its application to the government in 2011.

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