Apple to launch Apple Pay in China, take on Alibaba, Tencent

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Pay on its way to China next year.

SAN FRANCISCO • Apple and Samsung Electronics have reached separate agreements with China UnionPay to introduce their competing mobile payment systems in the country next year. Customers of UnionPay, China’s largest payment and clearing network, will be able to add their bank cards to iPhones, iPads and the Apple Watch for purchases through Apple Pay, the companies said in a statement. Now in the latest bout, the South Korean giant has announced that it is bringing its digital payments platform to China too, just hours after the news of a Chinese Apple Pay deal hit.

We learned yesterday (Dec. 17) that Apple Pay is due to arrive in China next year through a deal with UnionPay, and now Samsung has confirmed that Samsung Pay will also be available to Chinese consumers next year through a deal with the same company. While the deals allow the two biggest smartphone makers to take their nascent payment systems to the world’s largest market with the backing of state- backed UnionPay, they will face entrenched competition. Apple Pay launched in October 2014, and includes partners like McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Panera, Sephora, Disney theme parks, Starbucks, KFC, Chili’s, Best Buy, Rite Aid, and, of course, Apple Stores.. When it’s available, however, Samsung notes that Pay can be accepted in “most of” the point-of-sale terminals in China, including the NFC-capable Quick Pass terminals.

Apple Pay utilises near-field communication (NFC), which enables users to pay for purchases by tapping their phone or watch with stored bank card information on a device at cash registers. Quick Pass is different to a credit card or debit card system, instead relying on cash that’s stored in the card itself after being withdrawn from the bank by the card owner.

Apple Pay charges 0.15 per cent of the value of each purchase made through its system, out of the 2 per cent fee paid by merchants in the United States, Caixin magazine reported in February. Recent reports suggest that though Samsung is the most profitable Android phone maker in the world, the company may be falling behind Apple in the Chinese phone market. This is partly due to the appeal of the iPhone, and also to aggressive pricing by Chinese Android manufacturers that aim at the low end of the smartphone market. Alipay allows its more than 400 million real-name registered users to make purchases from desktop computers, tablets and smartphones at more than 130,000 brick-and-mortar merchants, according to its website. Apple Pay has been expanding across the US since its Oct. 2014 launch, and has also been expanding internationally with Canada and Australia as the next key markets alongside Spain, Hong Kong and Singapore in 2016.

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