Apple breaking into Alibaba’s cave in China with e-pay service | tech | Hindustan Times
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Apple breaking into Alibaba’s cave in China with e-pay service

Apple Inc. on Thursday launched its smartphone-based payment system in China where the electronic payments market is already dominated by an arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

tech Updated: Feb 18, 2016 11:04 IST
The Apple iPhone and Apple Watch can be used to make payments using the Apple Pay service. China launched the service on Thursday.
The Apple iPhone and Apple Watch can be used to make payments using the Apple Pay service. China launched the service on Thursday.(Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Apple Inc. on Thursday launched its smartphone-based payment system in China where the electronic payments market is already dominated by an arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The American tech company said Apple Pay could be used by 19 banks, “numerous merchants” and app developers. Apple’s electronic payment system started in the United States in October 2014 and has since spread to Britain, Canada and Australia.

The merchants include supermarket Carrefour, fast food outlets McDonald’s and KFC, and convenience store 7-Eleven, according to a news release Wednesday from China UnionPay, the country’s state-owned credit card processor with which Apple is working.

“We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market,” Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, told Reuters in an interview in Beijing.

In an early boost, China’s biggest lender -- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) -- said earlier this week that customers would be able to use Apple Pay from Thursday.

Apple’s system will allow UnionPay cardholders to make payments via Apple iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads.

The electronic payment service is a late arrival in the Chinese market that offers smartphone users not just online shopping but also the option to order taxis, send money to friends, pay bills and invest in wealth management funds.

The market is dominated by Alipay, an arm of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. WeChat Payment, operated by social networking and gaming company Tencent Holdings Ltd, is also popular.

China, the fifth country to get the service, is Apple’s second-largest market by revenue, and the world’s biggest smartphone market. By the end of 2015, 358 million people, more than the US population, had already taken to buying goods and services by mobile phone, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

(With inputs from Reuters)