Apple Pay to face tough local competition in China

Apple Pay to face tough local competition in China
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about Apple Pay during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015.

SHANGHAI - Apple seems to be poised to make a foray into China's vast and fast-expanding market for mobile payment services with its Apple Pay platform.

The US electronics giant has partnered with China UnionPay, China's largest cash and credit card provider, apparently in a move to roll out its Apple Pay service in the country.

If it enters the market, estimated to be worth 20 trillion yen ($166 billion), Apple will face two formidable local competitors -- Alipay, offered by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holdings, and WeChat Payment, a service provided by Tencent Holdings, which operates the popular WeChat mobile messaging service.

In October last year, Apple launched its Apple Pay service based on contactless payment technology in the US The service allows users to make payments at retail stores simply by holding their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch near the contactless reader.

At upscale supermarkets operated by Whole Foods Market of the US, more than 150,000 payments using the Apple Pay platform have already been made.

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