“Alipay is China’s most popular online payment system used for online purchases including Taobao orders, paying utility bills, movie tickets, and other shopping sites,” Scott Cendrowski reports for Fortune. “Apple’s new Apple Pay, meanwhile, is a mostly physical experience. You forgo the hassle of swiping a credit card at the cash register for the ease of touching the iPhone’s home button at two hundred thousand locations that have signed on with Apple. Yes, it has an online component that makes online shopping easier, but its allure is the physical component, just as Alipay’s allure is online.”

“So when Ma brought up a partnership, it wasn’t clear what Alipay could offer Apple in China: it doesn’t have payment installations across the country,” Cendrowski reports. “But Jack Ma doesn’t choose his words lightly. What he says carry weight even if it is difficult to understand. Just two days after he spoke on a stage with Tim Cook in the audience, China’s government announced a massive change to the payments system that supported Ma’s idea of a partnership.”

“Jack Ma is known for staying a step or two ahead of the government without creating feuds. The way he sidestepped UnionPay’s monopoly in the mid-2000s by setting up Alipay’s online system with 200 banks is one example,” Cendrowski reports. “Teaming up with Apple Pay looks like another.”

Read more in the full article here.

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