Apple CEO looks to expand Apple Pay to China through possible Alibaba deal

October 29, 2014 - 

Apple CEO Tim Cook is currently eyeing to expand its contactless platform Apple Pay’s reach to China in a potential agreement with Chinese online payments provider Alibaba, according to a report by International Business Times.

Meanwhile, Cook said at the WSJD Live Global Technology Conference that over one million credit cards were registered to use Apple Pay within 72 hours of its October 20th launch, making it larger than all its competing U.S. contactless platforms combined.

Apple Pay can be used with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, along with the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 (only online).

There has been an “overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic” feedback from customers and retailers for Apple Pay, which is currently available in-store in 220,000 shops across the US, said Apple.

With more retailers prepared to sign up, Apple Pay could see a wider international launch as soon as early 2015.

When asked specifically about rolling out Apple Pay to China and in particular a deal with Alibaba, Cook confirmed he will be entering talks with Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma about forging a possible partnership “later this week”.

Ma, who was also speaking at the conference, echoed Cook’s statement and said he hoped that Alibaba and Apple “can get something together”.

Alibaba’s Alipay is currently the third largest payment system in the world, next to MasterCard and Visa, said Ma. As a result, a partnership with Apple would most likely have to be incorporated into the company’s existing system.

Alibaba Group’s three websites – Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba – generated £153 billion in transactions last year.

This means that any partnership with Alibaba would be incredibly lucrative for Apple, considering the technology giant reportedly takes a 0.15% cut of all Apple Pay transactions.

But despite the potential growth for Apple Pay, Cook said that the company’s iPhone business will continue to drive Apple’s main revenues for the next three to five years.

Meanwhile, Alipay recently demonstrated Alipay Touch, a new fingerprint biometric system for its mobile wallet app, at a conference in Beijing.

AliPay Touch allows users to make mobile purchases through Alipay Wallet by simply swiping their finger across their smartphone.

Reported previously, AliPay is working with startup Megvii to add facial recognition technology to the wallet for account creation and verification.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.