Apple continues with its waving of white flags in China, announcing that it will finally allow its users to utilize WeChat Pay to make purchases in both its App Store and Apple Music store.
The Silicon Valley tech giant has long been reluctant to permit its users to employ third-party payment apps, hoping to push more people towards its own Apple Pay service.
However, the company appears to have finally admitted that that business decision is hurting its prospects in one of its most important markets. Over the last few years, Apple has seen its sales slip in Greater China, once one of the company’s fastest growing and most profitable markets, as it fell behind various domestic Android competitors, who sell comparable but cheaper smartphones — which can also use WeChat Pay.
Hoping to right the ship, Apple has been making a number of concessions recently to curry favor with the Chinese government, including removing foreign VPN apps from its China App Store last month and announcing plans to build a giant data center in Guizhou. It’s also been making moves to please Chinese customers, like beginning to allow users to pay for apps using Alipay last year.
This latest move appears to signal Apple’s acceptance that its own payment app will never be able to compete with the two domestic giants in China. According to data from Analysys, at the end of the first quarter of this year, Alipay held a 53.7% market share in China’s third-party mobile payment market and WeChat Pay held a 39.5% stake. Meanwhile, Apple Pay, which launched more than a year-and-a-half ago in the country, is still only around 1%.
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