Apple is running a massive Apple Pay promotion in China this week, in an attempt to grab a larger chunk of the mobile payments market currently dominated by Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings.
The promotion runs from tomorrow through July 24, and offers customers who use Apple Pay discounts of up to 50 percent, plus reward points up to 50x those of regular credit cards. The promotion is the biggest one since Apple Pay debuted in China in February 2016.
28 brick-and-mortar retail outlets, including 7-Eleven, Watsons, Starbucks and Burger King will be part of the campaign, along with 16 online merchants, including bike-sharing app Mobike and online travel app Ctrip. Not every merchant will be applying the same discounts. In addition to retailers, 17 Chinese banks are offering similar number of reward points when payments are made with credit cards on Apple Pay.
“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. She added that Apple may nonetheless face difficulties with the promotion, based on its lack of social media platforms to retain users.
At present, Aliba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay dominate the Chinese mobile payments market, respectively representing 53.7 percent and 39.5 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2017.
Promotions everywhere (kind of!)
Apple has been launching a number of different Apple Pay promotions as of late. In addition to constantly expanding the number of banks that support it, Apple has pushed promotions in the U.S. involving restaurant loyalty cards. Last month, it also added a feature to make it easier for Apple Pay users to make donations to help preserve the United States’ national parks.
Previously, Apple promoted Apple Pay in the United Kingdom by offering select Apple Pay users free travel on London transport.
Sadly, none of these quite compare to the massive China-focused Apple Pay promotion which kicks off this week. Then again, given that Tim Cook is intent on calling China Apple’s future biggest market place, and having described launching Apple Pay in the country as “top of the list” in terms of priorities, is it any surprise?