More reports on: Telecom

Tim Cook keen on pact between Apple, Alibaba

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28 October 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple's new mobile payment system had clocked over 1 million activations in the first three days after it became available, and was now more widely used than any competing payment system, AP reported.

Apple CEO Tim Cook with Alibaba chairman Jack Ma"We're already No 1. We're more than the total of the other guys," Cook boasted yesterday during a tech industry conference, "and we've only been at it a week." He added Visa and MasterCard officials had told Apple that the Apple Pay system was already seeing more use than similar "contactless" methods of making payments for purchases.

Cook said he now planned to talk with Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, later this week about a possible partnership, without disclosing further details, Reuters reported.

Yesterday Ma had said that he would be "very interested" in teaming with Apple to bring Apple Pay to China.

Alibaba, through its affiliate Alipay, operates China's largest payments service, while Apple this month launched its own version of a mobile wallet, which allows iPhone 6 users to make payments at retailers with their smartphones.

Ma told a Wall Street Journal Digital Live conference yesterday that he had tremendous respect for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"I hope we can do something together," he said when asked if Alipay and Apple Pay might tie up.

Ma, with an estimated $25 billion fortune, partly through his stake in recent market debutante Alibaba, frequently visits the US. He would be visiting a number of Hollywood studios, reportedly to strike content deals.

"I want to come here looking for partners," he said, adding that China would eventually emerge as the world's largest movie market.

Though Alibaba handles more e-commerce transactions than Amazon and eBay combined, it has a limited presence among US retail customers, since Ma's current focus is on serving his Chinese clientele.

Ma added that he wanted to sell US and European products to China, in a reversal of the  typical flow of goods over the past 10 to 15 years.

While Apple had partnered with major banks and large retail chains including Macy's Inc, Walgreen Co and McDonald's Corp, critics had noted that Apple Pay was not accepted by a number of other large chains. Among these, drugstore chains CVS Caremark Corp and Rite Aid Corp, that formed part of a coalition, working on a rival system (See: Drug store Rite Aid stops accepting payments through Apple Pay).





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