As Apple Pay is finally looking to make inroads to China, Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, a dominating player in China’s mobile payment sector through its payment affiliate Ant Financial, recently took the wraps off its homegrown smartwatch Pay Watch to extend into the to payment device industry.
The new gadget sports a 1.63-inch AMOLED display and is powered by dual-core CPU with 4GB of storage. Other specs include Bluetooth, a built-in 300mAh battery that supports 45 hours of regular use and magnetic charging. Also notable, Pay Watch is the first smartwatch that is equipped with YunOS, Alibaba’s customized Android system.
As its name suggests, Pay Watch focuses on mobile payment functions with support for Alipay, the payment method run by Ant Financial. This tie-up will effectively grant Pay Watch the wide offline payment networks that Alipay has established. As China’s most popular third-party payment service, Alipay supports payment at around 130,000 offline stores or restaurants, ranging from fast food brands like KFC to super market chains like Carrefour and Walmart.
Like on the Alipay app, wearers will be able to make payments by scanning QR codes that are generated by double-clicking the side button. The company added that transactions can be completed within one second even if there’s no internet connection.
Security is an indispensable part in mobile payment. An infrared sensor embedded will trigger screen lock once the watch is detached from wearer’s wrist.
Apart from mobile payments, it also features average smartwatch functions such as, health tracking, checking weather and receiving push notifications from smartphone.
The company launched a crowdfunding campaign on Alibaba’s Taobao crowd funding platform, offering four versions of Pay Watch at crowd funding prices starting from 699 RMB ($109 USD) or 899 RMB when they hit the market for real.
Mobile payment is becoming a must for smart wearables that want to stand out from the vast crowd of Chinese smart hardware manufacturers. Both Apple Watch and Mi Band have teamed up with Alipay. Shuashua, a near-field communication (NFC) smart bracelet developed by a Beijing startup, also supports transactions with bus and taxi services, as well as supermarkets, restaurants, cinemas and hospitals.