Posts tagged ‘China UnionPay’


Apple Pay takes on China’s internet kings in mobile payments | Reuters

Apple Inc launched its mobile payment system in China on Thursday in a bid to convince the hundreds of millions of users of the country’s entrenched, dominant services to switch.


“We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market,” Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, told Reuters in an interview in Beijing.

In an early boost, China’s biggest lender, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), was among the banks that said earlier this week that customers would be able to use Apple Pay from Thursday.

However, Apple Pay has not had an easy ride so far in China, the fifth country to get the service. Even in its U.S. home market, Apple has faced skeptical retailers in its effort to develop a new revenue stream.

China is not likely to prove any easier to crack.

“People switch applications for significantly better experiences, it (Apple) has to deliver not just a little bit more secure, or a little bit easier to use,” said Mark Natkin, founder of Marbridge Consulting.

Greater China is Apple’s second-largest market by revenue, and the world’s biggest smartphone market. By the end of 2015, 358 million people, more than the U.S. population, had already taken to buying goods and services by mobile phone, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

The vast majority are using payment services from China’s two biggest Internet companies that have existed for years.

Social networking and gaming firm Tencent Holdings Ltd operates WeChat Payment, and e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, through its Internet finance affiliate Ant Financial Services Group, runs Alipay.

“With 100 percent saturation of local payment systems, no one in China is clamoring for Apple Pay,” said one retailer who declined to be named for fear of harming business prospects. “Today, everyone has a local payment option on their phone, so Apple Pay is a solution in need of a problem.”

Source: Apple Pay takes on China’s internet kings in mobile payments | Reuters


With China weakening, Apple turns to India | Reuters

As China sales show signs of cooling, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is touting India’s appetite for iPhones, betting that rising wages and an expanding middle class will pull consumers away from the cheap alternatives that currently dominate the market.

In an earnings call in which the company reported meager iPhone growth and forecast its first revenue drop in 13 years, the Indian market stood out as a rare bright spot for Apple.

Sales of the company’s flagship smartphone climbed 76 percent in India from the year-ago quarter, Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said.

According to data compiled by Counterpoint Technology Research, Apple sold an estimated 800,000 iPhones in India in the fourth-quarter, its highest ever amount but one that is a fraction of the 28 million smartphones sold during that period.

Growth in India is a tantalizing prospect as Apple grapples with the economic downturn in China, its second largest market. While revenue in Greater China rose 14 percent in the last quarter, Apple is beginning to see a shift in the economy, particularly in Hong Kong, Maestri told Reuters in an interview.

But with nearly 70 percent of smartphones selling for less than $150 in India, Apple’s high-end phones remain out of reach of most consumers. The basic iPhone 6S sells at just under $700 in India, or nearly half the average annual wage.

“In many ways India is very similar to what China was a few years ago, but the middle class here is still very small and it can be two to three years before Apple gets a similar level of success in India,” said Counterpoint Technology Research analyst Tarun Pathak.

Apple CEO Tim Cook struck a more optimistic note, saying the company was “increasingly putting more energy” into India, citing a largely youthful population with rising disposable income as more people join the workforce.

With faster 4G coverage expanding, Apple has already asked Indian government for a license to set up its own retail stores just as the market seems to be turning in its favor.

As in China, Apple products are a coveted status symbol in India, a market that analysts say is likely to overtake the United States next year to become the world’s second largest smartphone market. “The love for the iPhone is there,” said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research and head of U.S. business at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a consumer research firm.

Source: With China weakening, Apple turns to India | Reuters


They’re Coming! Chinese Tourists Will Make 100 Million Trips Abroad This Year – Businessweek

In the first 11 months of this year, mainland Chinese tourists made more than 100 million international trips—already topping the travel total for 2013, according to new data from the China National Tourism Administration.

People hail the arrival of Asia's largest luxury cruise liner, Voyager of the Seas, in Tianjin, China, in 2012

Fifteen years ago, Chinese tourists made less than 10 million trips abroad. Since then, however, rising incomes have led to rapid growth in domestic and international travel.

Many of those trips—more than 60 percent—are within Greater China, including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Almost 90 percent of destinations are within Asia.

China UnionPay—the country’s Visa (V) card—now offers several promotions hoping to encourage overseas tourists to spend more. Cardholders visiting Paris, Rome, and Sydney can get 15 percent off hotels, restaurants, and major tourist attractions. Those touring in Bali, Phuket, and the Maldives can get 10 percent off.

Meanwhile, national tourism authorities for Switzerland and Iceland recently put up booths at Beijing’s “Ski & Style” industry event in late November, hoping to lure more affluent Chinese skiers to European slopes.

via They’re Coming! Chinese Tourists Will Make 100 Million Trips Abroad This Year – Businessweek.


* China-backed payment processor to accelerate global expansion

Visa and Mastercard beware!

Reuters: “China’s state-backed electronic payment services giant, China UnionPay, launched an international arm tasked with speeding its expansion overseas, heating up competition with rivals such as Visa Inc (V.N) and Mastercard Inc (MA.N).

The logo of the China UnionPay is seen at a bank in Taiyuan, Shanxi province July 20, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS)

The move underscores UnionPay’s growing global ambitions, and follows a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that China discriminates against foreign card companies by favoring UnionPay in the home market.

UnionPay, China’s dominant payment card supplier, is looking to expand the number of shops and outlets overseas that will accept its cards and also grow the number of partner banks issuing UnionPay-branded cards. The move would increase its business, assist inbound and outbound travelers and is also aimed at promoting the use of the yuan as a global currency.

“UnionPay’s internationalism provides convenience to Chinese residents and companies going overseas. Also it provides a new payment option for overseas residents and companies,” Liu Shiyu, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said at the opening ceremony of UnionPay’s unit.”

via China-backed payment processor to accelerate global expansion | Reuters.


* WTO: China discriminates against foreign card companies

BBC News: “The World Trade Organisation has ruled that China discriminates against foreign credit-card and debit-card providers.

A panel of the trade body said China maintains a monopoly on yuan-denominated payment cards which breaks WTO rules. Only one company, China UnionPay, is allowed to process domestic currency transactions. This limits foreign providers such as Visa and Mastercard.

There is a 60-day period in which either side can appeal against the ruling.

The Obama administration first lodged the complaint in 2010.

US companies have been trying to get greater access to the massive China market.

“Today’s win highlights that tackling unfair Chinese trade practices has been a priority of this president”, Jay Carney, White House press secretary

Currently, they can only issue cards in partnership with Chinese banks and China UnionPay.

Visa said in a statement that the company is “hopeful that this ruling will pave the way for international payment companies to participate in the domestic payments marketplace in China”.

The decision by the WTO is being hailed as a “win” by the US government. The trade gap with China has become a campaign issue in the upcoming elections.

“Today’s win highlights that tackling unfair Chinese trade practices has been a priority of this president,” said Jay Carney, White House press secretary.

Tim Reif from the US Trade Representative’s office said the ruling would support about 6,000 jobs if it goes through.

However, the WTO did not agree with all the claims raised by the United States.”

via BBC News – WTO: China discriminates against foreign card companies.

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