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Apple runs biggest Apple Pay promotion in China since its launch, offering discounts & rewards

Apple is reportedly running the largest Apple Pay promotion in China since the service launched there almost 18 months ago.

The company is offering discounts of up to 50%, and points rewards of up to 50 times the usual number, for using the service at 28 major retail outlets and 16 online stores. The major push is in response to the greatest challenge faced by Apple Pay in the country …

While mobile payment was in its infancy in most of Apple Pay’s markets, that was not the case in China, where local services Alipay and WeChat Pay were already in extremely widespread use, notes South China Morning Post.

According to Beijing-based research agency Analysys, the third-party mobile payment market in China is dominated by Alibaba and Tencent, whose Alipay and WeChat Pay has 53.7 per cent and 39.5 per cent of the market as of the first quarter of 2017, respectively.

At a 7-Eleven store in Shenzhen, a salesperson said a majority of consumers make purchases through Alipay and WeChat Pay while payments via Apple Pay are rare. “People are accustomed to Alipay and WeChat Pay in China, which also offer various cash rebates or discounts now and then.”

There is, however, some optimism that the promotion will be successful, with Analysys saying they expect the deals to attract more consumers, and IDC anticipating that it will help grow the company’s share of the mobile payment market, despite falling iPhone sales.

“I am happy to see that Apple finally has decided to do something to gain market share in China,” said IDC China managing director Kitty Fok.

Participating brands include many international ones, among them 7-Eleven, Burger King, Costa Coffee, Starbucks and GAP.

Apple continues to expand the rollout to more banks in the U.S. and elsewhere. The company has also used discounts as a promotional tool for Apple Pay within the USA.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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