Alibaba bites back at the Apple Watch with new “Pay Watch”

Screenshot from

Yang Li

YunOS, an operating system developed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, partnered with Shenzhen-based company, FiiSmart, to launch Pay Watch, a payment-focused smartwatch last week.

Pay Watch will be crowdfunded on Taobao from October 15. The crowdfunding price will vary from RMB 699(USD 110) to 999 depending on the accessories included.

The model includes a 1.63-inch AMOLED display, a dual-core CPU, 4GB of storage, and a built-in 300 mAh battery supporting 36 hours of regular use. It offers magnetic charging, and compatibility with the Android and iOS operating systems. Health features of the watch will include heart-rate monitoring, motion detection, and a built-in pedometer.

Alibaba’s major payment service, Alipay, will be built into the watch. By simply clicking a button on the watch, a payment barcode will present itself on the display in preparation for being scanned for payment.

Alipay claims to have more than 270 million active users and 400 million registered users since launching in 2004.

Alipay also leads innovation in smart payments. In April, Alipay released its ‘KungFu’ feature allowing users to designate anything: their facial expression, pet lizard, wedding band or even shoe, as a form of identification for payment.

In general, wearable devices are trendy in China. More than a million Apple Watches have been sold in China since April, according to independent Chinese consulting group, Talking Data. IDC said 3.6 million Apple Watches were shipped in the second quarter 2015 worldwide.

Apple launched its mobile payment and digital wallet service, Apple Pay last October. It is said that Apple Pay acounts for two-thirds of all US mobile payments.

Apple Pay’s earliest contact with the Chinese market was back in February, when China Construction Bank began trials of Apple Pay in Yunnan province, Century Weekly reported.

In June, Apple Pay was registered as Apple Technical Service (Shanghai) Ltd. in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Registered capital was listed as USD 13.4 million with a business term that went up to 30 years.


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