Shoppers can now use Alipay in all of mainland China’s 41 Apple retail stores, the first time a third-party payment system has been accepted by the firm in store. The Alipay app now has a new section where users can link their Apple accounts to their Alipay account and find special offers for spending in physical Apple stores.

Apple has seen mixed success in China. Its products are doing well, its mobile payment system Apple Pay less so. The country is Apple’s second largest retail market after the US and sales have grown for the last two quarters, an increase of 11% in its combined fiscal first-quarter revenue (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) to a record $17.9 billion. Much of this comes from demand for the iPhone.

Adding Alipay as a payment option in store is in line with making sales as convenient as possible for shoppers. WeChat Pay is on a trajectory to surpass Alipay in terms of total transaction volume, though shoppers have a tendency to use Alipay for larger purchases (Apple products, for example) and WeChat for day-to-day shopping such as groceries and convenience stores.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...