Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba is launching a new non-fungible token section as part of its Alibaba Auction services, underlining the tech giant’s ongoing efforts to adopt blockchain technology.
Bit Universe, a unit that operates under the Tree Graph Blockchain Research Institute, has launched an NFT platform named Guang Jian, set to serve Alibaba Auction’s NFT display and bidding needs, according to a company statement released yesterday.
Guang Jian will facilitate Alibaba Auction’s services for items related to e-sports, digital copyrights, digital arts and digital trading cards. Guang Jian is connected to services built on the Tree Graph Blockchain and the New Copyright Blockchain, a blockchain infrastructure backed by the Sichuan provincial government, according to the statement.
Users will gain access to the new platform through Alibaba affiliate Alipay, one of the major payment apps in China, or WeChat, a mega-app owned by Tencent.
This is not the first time Alibaba has rolled out an NFT-related service. Just last week, Alipay offered NFT artworks featuring popular Chinese animated film “White Snake 2: The Tribulation of the Green Snake,” which hit the big screen last month. The NFTs were designed as wallpapers for users’ payment code pages, and a total of 80,000 copies of two editions combined sold out within a day.
That followed Alipay’s June successful drop of NFT art adapted from images of flying apsaras and sacred deer from the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, or Mogao Cave, in the Chinese city of Dunhuang.
Chinese online shopping platform Taobao, owned by Alibaba, last month also sold NFTs at its annual shopping festival.
Meanwhile, Tencent has been no slouch when it comes to entering the world of NFTs. Its music streaming arm, QQ Music, has jumped on the NFT bandwagon and over the weekend sold out its first NFT featuring popular Mando-pop singer Tiger Hu.
Earlier this month, Tencent also launched an NFT trading platform named Huanhe, built on the company’s own Zhixin chain. Its debut sale featured 300 audio NFTs based on well-known Chinese talk show “Shisanyao,” set to be sold for 18 yuan (US$2.78) each, according to Tencent.
As the two tech rivals race to bring NFTs to market, it’s becoming clearer that they could become friends at some point amid increasingly intense scrutiny by Chinese regulators. The fact that Alibaba Auction’s new platform will be accessible using WeChat marks a step toward the two companies opening up their platforms to one another.
Both companies have been targeted by Beijing, which has accused them of monopolistic practices.
Ningwei Qin contributed to this report.