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Chinese Mobile Payment Service Alipay Adds Touch ID Support Amid Reports of Apple Pay Discussions

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Alipay, the payment affiliate of major Chinese marketplace Alibaba, has updated its popular e-payments app to include support for Touch ID on iOS devices, allowing users to authenticate accounts and authorize Alipay payments on compatible iPhone models without the need of a password. The new Touch ID integration will be available on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus for Alipay's more than 300 million mainland China users, according to a report by China Daily (via Quartz).

The addition of Touch ID authentication for Alipay's iOS app comes after Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and Apple CEO Tim Cook began talks of a China-focused payments partnership last month, although Touch ID app integration is a straightforward process that would not necessarily have required discussions between the two companies to implement.

Though by no means a confirmation, the move does highlight Alibaba's interest in Touch ID for payment security, bolstering hopes for an Apple Pay/Alipay partnership between the two companies down the road. As China's largest e-payment service and with the rampant growing interest of Apple Pay in the United States, the inclusion of Touch ID support could be a hint at Alibaba and Apple's e-payment future together.

As of today, Apple Pay has yet to be made available at all in China or anywhere else outside the United States, as Apple is focusing first on its home market before expanding to other countries. Neil Flynn, a Shanghai-based equity analyst, pointed out the benefits Alibaba could get out of the partnership, namely bolstering Alipay's overseas presence. Apple also stands to benefit from the arrangement as it seeks to increase its presence in the booming Chinese market.
"By teaming up with Alipay, the iPhone is now a more convenient tool for Chinese consumers. In addition, I would imagine that Apple would profit from payments made through Alipay on the iPhone, so it gives Apple access to Chinese consumers," said Flynn, who has been following Alibaba's development for several years.
Apple also has a partnership with Alipay's rival of sorts, UnionPay. Apple announced last month that it would begin allowing UnionPay customers in China the opportunity to use their cards as a payment method in the App Store. Though Apple appears to be hedging its bets, it is clear the company has great interest in growing its e-payments presence in China and elsewhere.

Article Link: Chinese Mobile Payment Service Alipay Adds Touch ID Support Amid Reports of Apple Pay Discussions
 

2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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I don't know enough about this company to say much. However, it strikes me as a bit concerning that they are like google and have all your search data, like amazon and have all your purchase data. And with Alipay, have ALL your purchase data. given that they are beholden to the chinese government, this seems like a lot of data about people that could be used by the government in many ways that are not in the best interest of the people.

Not accusing anyone of anything, just saying it is a bit concerning.
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
I don't know enough about this company to say much. However, it strikes me as a bit concerning that they are like google and have all your search data, like amazon and have all your purchase data. And with Alipay, have ALL your purchase data. given that they are beholden to the chinese government, this seems like a lot of data about people that could be used by the government in many ways that are not in the best interest of the people.

Not accusing anyone of anything, just saying it is a bit concerning.

To be fair, adding Touch ID support doesn't change anything regarding data collection. All the data points you mentioned are already collected. Remember, these are customers already using Alipay and Union Pay. Adding Touch ID gives them no more information than they already have.

As far as the involvement of the Chinese government, again, these are customers already using Alipay and Union Pay. So basically adding Touch ID support just gives Chinese consumers an additional way to pay for stuff.
 
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2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
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To be fair, adding Touch ID support doesn't change anything regarding data collection. All the data points you mentioned are already collected. Remember, these are customers already using Alipay and Union Pay. Adding Touch ID gives them no more information than they already have.

As far as the involvement of the Chinese government, again, these are customers already using Alipay and Union Pay. So basically adding Touch ID support just gives Chinese consumers an additional way to pay for stuff.

You are correct of course. My rant was not really about TouchID but about my concern with data privacy as it relates to this company and the government that has allowed it to blossom. The only concern with TouchID is if it makes anyone feel that using a fingerprint scanner would somehow provide them anymore data protection, which it won't.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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The only concern with TouchID is if it makes anyone feel that using a fingerprint scanner would somehow provide them anymore data protection, which it won't.

It reduces the number of potential attack vectors, so I would argue that it does provide additional data protection.

Anyways, I figure Apple rolling Apple Pay out abroad will help make it look more legitimate and encourage companies everywhere, both domestic and abroad, to get quickly at supporting it.

I've heard from multiple cashiers at multiple stores that I shop at that they've been told that the store will begin accepting it sometime early next year. So that's encouraging. (I'm completely blanking on where I heard it right now...)
 
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