Ap­ple Pay goes after WeChat Wal­let, Ali­pay

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By MA SI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ap­ple Inc is launch­ing a large pro­mo­tion cam­paign in China to pro­mote Ap­ple Pay, in a move to ex­pand its pres­ence in the lo­cal mo­bile pay­ment mar­ket dom­i­nated by Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd and Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd.

From July 18 to 24, Chi­nese con­sumers who use Ap­ple Pay to buy items in cer­tain re­tail­ers and su­per­mar­kets can ben­e­fit from a range of of­fers of up to 50 per­cent off. They can also en­joy as much as 50 times the usual amounts of re­ward points for credit cards, Ap­ple said on its of­fi­cial Chi­nese web­site.

Part­ners for the pro­mo­tion cam­paign in­clude a to­tal of 28 off­line re­tail stores, su­per­mar­kets and res­tau­rants, such as Star­bucks and Costa Cof­fee, as well as 16 in­ter­net mer­chants in­clud­ing bike­shar­ing app Mo­bike, on­line travel app Ctrip and e-com­merce site JD.

The event, one of the largest of its kind since Ap­ple Pay was launched in China in Fe­bru­ary 2016, came as the US tech giant ramps up its re­sources to ap­peal to lo­cal con­sumers amid mount­ing com­pe­ti­tions from Alibaba’s Ali­pay and Ten­cent’s WeChat Pay ser­vices.

Jen­nifer Bai­ley, vice-pres­i­dent of Ap­ple Pay, told fi­nan- cial me­dia out­let Caixin that the com­pany aims to en­cour­age ev­ery one of its iPhone users to opt for Ap­ple Pay.

Ac­cord­ing to Bai­ley, 97 per­cent of Ap­ple Pay users are very sat­is­fied with the ser­vice and the pro­mo­tion is de­signed to at­tract more first­time users.

In the first quar­ter of 2017, Ali­pay and WeChat Pay, re­spec­tively, ac­counted for 53.7 per­cent and 39.5 per­cent of China’s third-party mo­bile pay­ment mar­ket, data from the Bei­jing-based re­search agency Analysys show.

Li Chao, an an­a­lyst at iRe­search Con­sult­ing Group, said Chi­nese con­sumers have been ac­cus­tomed to us­ing Ali­pay and WeChat Pay, whose ser­vices can be in­stalled in all kinds of mo­bile de­vices and be ini­ti­ated by scan­ning quick re­spon­sive codes.

“Ap­ple Pay, how­ever, is only avail­able on iPhones. It takes huge re­sources to change con­sumers’ es­tab­lished habits. The pro­mo­tion cam­paign may be ef­fec­tive in short term. But in the long term, Ap­ple need to come up with more ser­vices to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self from its ri­vals” Li said.

Liu Chang, a soft­ware en­gi­neer in Shen­zhen, said: “The 50 per­cent dis­count of­fer­ing is at­trac­tive, but since WeChat Pay and Ali­pay are al­ready very con­ve­nient, why should I bother to use Ap­ple Pay.”


A man learns how to use Ap­ple Pay at a bank in Hangzhou, cap­i­tal of Zhe­jiang province.

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