Alibaba, Apple to talk about partnership -- report

Alibaba, Apple to discuss payments partnership

28 OCT 2014

Alibaba co-founder and chairman Jack Ma said yesterday he is interesting in working with Apple on mobile payments.

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal Digital event, Ma expressed interest in a partnership between its Alipay payment unit and Apple Pay, said.

Alibaba is the largest e-commerce site in the world and last month raised $25 billion in its US IPO. The company also offers mobile payments through Alipay Wallet, an app that enables payments at physical stores and other kinds of transactions such as paying for public transport. reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was at the event in Laguna Beach, California, said he planned to meet with Ma this week about a potential partnership.

A report in September suggested Apple was in discussions with China Unionpay to jointly launch mobile payments in China. Unionpay is a state-owned bankcard association that has been approved by the central bank to provide clearing services for bankcard transactions. Because of its near monopoly, it issues almost all bankcards in China.

Alipay has had to route its services through Unionpay since 2012.

Reports of a possible Apple-Alibaba tie-up mean a partnership with Unionpay is highly unlikely.

Cook also said at the event that in the first 72 hours of Apple Pay being launched one million credit cards in the US were activated to be used with it. The figure includes only iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users, as the service is only available on the new devices. Apple Pay launched on 20 October.


Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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