Apple first announced in December that it was partnering with China’s UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to users in China sometime in 2016. Now a year and a half after launching in the US., the Cupertino company officially launched Apple Pay in China on Thursday, and, according to Mashable’s report, it has been an early success as 38 million credit cards were linked on launch day. In fact, many Chinese users complained that they were unable to sign up due to what Apple later confirmed to be a “planned gradual rollout throughout the day.”
Unlike U.S., mobile payment is already widely adopted by mainstream consumers, thanks to the popularity of Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Wallet, which experts suggested would pose challenges for Apple Pay. However, with the backing of UnionPay, the only domestic bank card organization in mainland China, Apple Pay may just stand a good chance at conquering this important global market, as it plays an integral part in Chinese banks’ plan to digitize its offline payment services and compete against the likes of Alipay.
What Brands Need To Do
As Apple continues to push Apple Pay into more global markets, expanding its scope and capturing more users in the process, it is time for brands that have businesses in China start using Apple Pay’s integration of reward programs to connect with the local consumers. As a market that is quite accustomed to offline mobile payment, this also presents new opportunities for retailers with stores in China to incorporate existing reward and loyalty programs into new point of sale systems for a frictionless shopping experience.
Sources: 9to5 Mac
Header image courtesy of apple.com/cn