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Tencent, the owner of popular messaging platform WeChat, has introduced a new set of digital tools which will allow merchants to set up their own online stores via the app’s Minishop. With Minishop, it is now completely free for businesses to set up their own online store using WeChat, and Minishop also supports live streaming and offers transaction, order management and logistics services for users.

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Tencent’s new MiniShop service will almost certainly be seen as competition by the likes of Chinese shopping giants such as Alibaba and JD.com. This is because there are currently 1 billion users of the WeChat app, and there are no opening or service charges with MiniShop unlike with Alibaba and JD.com.

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