A Chinese mobile phone user browses online shopping site Taobao.com. Photo: AFP

Taobao, one of the world’s largest e-commerce websites controlled by Alibaba, has teamed up with Alipay, Alibaba’s third-party online payment platform, to launch a group buying business amid the accelerating competition in social e-commerce, Yicai.com reported.

Alipay users can now access a group buying function via the homepage. All the goods come from different Taobao stores, covering more than ten categories such as daily necessities, food and clothing.

However, the prices are much lower than that on Taobao, offering even as much as a 50% discount.

Alipay users can not only initiate a group buying and invite friends to join, the system can also match users with any on-going group buying.

The group buying mode is an innovative business model combining mobile e-commerce and social media. It makes good use of social media, relying on “users to develop users,” and thus is able to quickly expand with almost no advertising.

Meanwhile, Alipay has been integrating various Alibaba’s services and has long deviated from being a pure payment tool.