A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

According to consulting firm iResearch, China’s mobile payment transactions tripled last year to US$5.5 trillion, making the country the largest mobile payments platform in the world.

Alibaba’s Alipay accounts for a whopping 50% of that number, with Tencent’s TenPay not far behind at 38.1%, followed by a crowded house of other hopefuls.

Source: Analysys, Australian Financial Review

But TenPay, which is integrated with Tencent’s WeChat, China’s most popular instant messaging platform, is rising fast. Some international retailers are dropping their shops on Alibaba’s T-Mall and Taobao in favor of WeChat stores.

Australian Financial Review reports that Christian Dior and Woolworths have switched to Tencent’s platform from Alibaba’s, and ASX-listed SmartTrans Holdings has gone a step further, opening its Chine e-commerce offerings entirely on the WeChat platform.

Apple Pay and other upstarts in the China mobile payments market will have a hard time gaining any traction, but Alibaba’s dominance of the market is far from guaranteed with WeChat fast on their tail.