The partnership with Apple was announced in a statement on Wednesday by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, which runs Alipay. Apple’s regional China website, iTunes Store, and App Store have accepted Alipay for over a year, but Apple has now agreed to accept Alipay payments across all of its 41 local retail stores in the country, where Apple Pay has thus far received a lukewarm reception.
Alipay is China’s most used mobile payment platform, but Alibaba is looking to keep one step ahead of Tencent Holdings’ rival digital payment system, which is integrated into hugely popular chat app WeChat.
Reports of discussions about a potential partnership between Apple and Alibaba date back to November 2014, when the idea of integrating Alibaba’s Alipay with Apple Pay was first considered as a more comprehensive mobile payments solution for the Chinese market.
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