Apple is struggling to make headway bringing Apple Pay to China. China’s central bank, bank card service UnionPay, and Alibaba, the country’s huge e-commerce company, are all making it difficult for Apple, MarketWatch reports.
Apple’s expansion in China has been going smoothly in recent months. It is opening new stores there at incredible speeds; iPhone sales in the country are strong. And last month it was reported that the US tech company’s focus on upmarket stores and premium prices saw a 70% increase in sales in China in the last few months of 2014. The nation has been a big part of Apple’s historic profits.
But China is causing problems for Apple when it comes to its smartphone payment system Apple Pay.
MarketWeek reports that Apple is struggling in its negotiations with UnionPay, China’s state-owned credit/debit card operator. Apple needs an entry into the Chinese payment service market, but it’s said that negotiations between the pair have stalled.
Apple is encountering issues in China because the country already has smartphone payment systems. Alibaba’s Alipay and UnionPay’s own service have been around for a while now. MarketWeek notes that Apple actually helped with Alibaba’s Alipay fingerprint technology, with the hope of working together again in the future. But so far that hasn’t proved fruitful for the US tech giant.
There are already two big players operating in China’s smartphone payment industry, and it’s uncertain which company Apple will partner with to roll out Apple Pay. Someone is going to lose out — so for now, the situation is entirely unclear.
Elsewhere, a lot of people are excited about Apple Pay. It’s been called a “wake up call for marketeers” by the CEO of Vibes. In the US, it’s been up and running for around 6 months. It’s working for retailers such as office supplier Staples, which according to FierceMobileIT’s Nancy Gohring has been transformative. “Right now it’s the number one payment method for us in our iOS apps,” said Prat Vemana, VP of mobile commerce for Staples. Business Insider reported this month that 3o% of Staples’ in-app purchases on iOS are coming from Apple Pay.
It’s coming to the UK soon, too. It’s been reported that bankers are “falling over themselves” to get in on the action.