(Yicai Global) Sept. 10 -- Affiliates of Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, two of China's internet heavyweights, have embarked on a rare collaboration to help develop Xiongan New Area, a national flagship project to build a smart megacity in northern 'rust belt' province of Hebei.
Together with other partners, Ant Financial Services Group and a subsidiary of Tencent will jointly establish a non-profit institute for research and cooperation on local city development, regional internet operator Beijing Forever Technology, one of the participating companies, said in a statement.
China's cabinet decided in April last year to begin work on Xiongan New Area, an urban development project of "national importance" along with Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Shanghai Pudong New Area. Planned for construction in the country's top steelmaking province, it is slated to become "a model city in the history of human development," Hebei's provincial authorities said in a plan released in the same month.
The new institute aims to offer advice to the government on issues that may arise during development. The five other partners are involved in energy, architecture, science and technology, as well as culture and the arts.
Ant Financial's third-party platform Alipay competes directly with Tencent's WeChat Pay in facilitating the largest chunk of domestic online payment traffic. Alibaba's fintech affiliate led with a 54 percent market share at the end of March.
Editor: Emmi Laine