In a statement sent to multiple Chinese media outlets today, Apple said iPhone and iPad users in China can now use WeChat Pay as a payment method for App Store and Apple Music purchases.
"We are glad to offer users in mainland China the option of WeChat Pay for their favorite mobile app or Apple Music products. We continue to be dedicated to provide multiple simple and convenient payment methods for customers within the Apple ecosystem," Apple said in an official statement today.
WeChat Pay is the second most popular mobile payments service in China, with an estimated 39.5 percent market share as of the first quarter of 2017, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys. By comparison, Apple Pay's market share was estimated to have been just one percent in the first quarter.
WeChat itself is an incredibly popular app in China that allows users to pay for services, chat, hail a cab, watch videos, play mini games, and more. Since the app can be installed on Android, some analysts believe WeChat is a threat to Apple by way of reducing the iPhone's competitive advantage in China.
Nevertheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said WeChat's creator Tencent is one of its most important developers.
"I see Tencent as one of our biggest and best developers," said Cook, speaking on a conference call in early August. "They've done a great job of implementing iOS features in their apps, and we're looking forward to working with them even more to build even greater experiences for our mutual users in China."
Apple has also accepted Alipay, the most popular mobile payment service in China with 53.7 percent market share, since October 2016.
Top Rated Comments
To use WeChat pay requires you to have a credit card issued from a Chinese Bank. When I'm in China, I have a friend send me a Hong Bao (Red Envelope), a personal money transfer which then lets me use it everywhere until I run out.
Another problem in the US (and I assume Europe) is that the merchants have to be set up. You can either show them a QR code which they scan, or they have a QR code that you scan and then show them that you paid the right amount.
I don't expect WeChat to take off in the US, because it requires a coordination between banks, retailers and end users that China has already established and people in the US seem to be satisfied with carrying plastic cards around with them.
People in the US are still amazed when I pay with my watch. A small family grocery store in China takes a WeChat payment from your phone without even batting an eye.
Still waiting eagerly to see what happens with https://www.macrumors.com/2017/05/18/apple-chinese-chat-apps-disable-tip-functions/