Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not leaving any stone unturned in its bid to upend the mobile payment market with its Apple Pay. Last week, news broke that Apple was extending Apple Pay outside the U.S. as it unveiled plans to launch Apple Pay in UK this month.
Apple’s First Attack
There are also signs that Apple Pay will enter Canada by November. Tim Cook has also provided hints that he has his sights on taking Apple Pay to China. Apple’s plan to take Apple Pay to China might appear to be a smart move because China has a huge business environment.
However, Apple Pay’s planned foray into China ruffled Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) feathers. The Chinese firm’s affiliate Ant Financial is now planning to use Alipay to help US retailers reach consumers in China.
Ant Financial has hinted that it wants to list itself for an IPO in the next year or two.. That move that will have it competing directing with Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Wallet in the mobile payment market.
Apple’s Defensive Moves
Now, Apple is consolidating its position the U.S. market in order to maintain a lead when Alipay debuts in the U.S. 9to5Mac reports that Apple Pay continues to expand in the United States as the service has added additional 23 new banks and credit unions.
The addition of these 23 banks and credit unions now brings the total number of banks and credit unions in sync with Apple Pay to 318.
Apple is also rolling out a powerful UK launch that will include all major banks and card issuers in the UK except Barclays. HSBC, First Direct, NatWest, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland are among those that will go live with the Apple Pay on its UK debut.
In essence, Apple is already in partnership with almost 320 banks in the United States while Alipay is yet to conclude its listing plans not to mention starting its business in the U.S. Apple’s massive UK rollout also gives Apple Pay a good start over Alipay.
Can Alipay take on Apple Pay?
In an interview with Fortune, Jingming Li, president of Alipay’s U.S. parent, Ant Financial Americas revealed some stats about Alipay’s business. For one, AliPay has 350M registered users in China and that’s more than double the size of PayPal’s 165.2M active accounts globally. PayPal is still the biggest U.S. online payment processor.
Hence, Alipay might be a regional operator but it has the scale to enter Apple Pay’s market and take the bigger part of the pie. He also mentioned that Alipay handled transactions worth $9.3B last November during China’s version of Black Friday.
The wallet war is already on and Apple is working towards becoming a global player while Alipay is struggling to stop being just a regional payments firm. However, Ant Financial’s Alipay is a worrying alternative because of the depth of its reach and experience in China.
Apple will need to stay on top of its game if it doesn’t want to be pushed to second place when Alipay seeks to partner with US retailers.