As a natural extension of contactless cards, wearable devices are increasingly targeting mobile payments. Huami, the manufacturer of Xiaomi’s hugely-popular smart fitness tracker Mi Band, has entered into a partnership with Alibaba’s payment affiliate Alipay to develop smart wristbands that incorporate mobile payment.

After connecting Mi Band with their Alipay account, wearers can make payments by placing the wearable device near an Alipay client without needing to enter a password. Acting as the means of ID verification, the wristband connects to the wearer’s phone via Bluetooth when the transaction is being made.

Regarding security concerns, the companies stated that Mi Band will use industry standard encryption to secure payments. Each device has a unique identifier and payments can only be processed only when this pairs with its pre-set Alipay account, so users don’t have to worry that others could make unauthorized payments with their Mi Band if it is lost.

Alipay has opened mobile payment, alerts and voucher verification access to Huami. The payment company noted that they are planning to cooperate with more hardware manufacturers, and further access will be granted to partners so that they can develop custom features as desired.

This feature is now available for Alipay’s 8.6 Android update, with the iOS version to be launched very soon.

Mi Band is not the first wearable device to feature one touch mobile payment in China. Shuashua, a near-field communication (NFC) enabled smart bracelet developed by a Beijing startup, can be used for transactions with bus and taxi services, as well as supermarkets, restaurants, cinemas and hospitals.

The combination of Mi Band’s affordability and the wide usage of Alipay makes the product highly accessible. The Mi Band had shipped over 1 million units as of early December last year, four months after going on sale in August last year, according to Xiaomi.


Image credit: Alipay

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

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