Today, Apple Pay is launching its mobile payment service in China, throwing itself into a pool of sharks led by domestic competitors WeChat and Alipay.
Already Apple’s second biggest market, China is now the fifth country to get Apple Pay. “We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market,” said vice president Jennifer Bailey.
So far, Apple has nabbed 19 Chinese lenders as partners, with two more — China’s Guangfa Bank and Construction Bank Corp. — joining the team from today onwards, reports The Guardian. And on Tuesday, leading lender ICBC promoted the Apply Pay service on social media.
But most everyone who isn’t working for or aligned with Apple are skeptical of the service’s prospects in the Middle Kingdom, according to Reuters.
“With 100 percent saturation of local payment systems, no one in China is clamoring for Apple Pay,” remarked one anonymous retailer. “Today, everyone has a local payment option on their phone, so Apple Pay is a solution in need of a problem.”
Though optimism was offered by Peking University finance professor Zhao Longka, who anticipates an unholy union with UnionPay: “The entry of Apple Pay has the potential to change the strategic landscape. UnionPay now has an opportunity to bring a new alliance to defend the market that it is losing to Tencent or Alibaba – Apple Pay first needs to figure out a way to win over Chinese customers.”
According to China’s Internet Information Center, by the end of last year the mainland cemented its position as the world’s biggest smartphone market, with 358 million using mobile payment — we’ll have to wait to see where and how Apple fits into that.
For those who want to try it out. All China Tech has a step-by-step guide. They gave the experience an 8.5 out of 10.