People in China now have one more convenient way to pay for apps and songs from Apple. The company is adding support for WeChat Pay, a popular payments service from the Chinese messaging app, to the App Store and Apple Music in the country.
In a statement, the company said it is dedicated to offering “multiple simple and convenient payment methods for customers” within its ecosystem. The move however illustrates Apple’s ongoing struggle to push the reach of Apple Pay service in China, which according to estimates only has about one percent of the mobile payments market share in the country.
On top of this, Apple and Tencent, the owner of WeChat, have been in a terse relationship of late, according to a report. WeChat, which has about 950 million monthly active users, recently launched a “mini-program” system allowing people to add various of these “mini programs” to WeChat app.
Apple sees these WeChat efforts as competition to its App Store, according to the report, and has previously sought 30 percent usual cut it takes from the apps in App Store. In the conference call earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company values WeChat, which is one of its “biggest and best” developers.
Regardless, the addition of WeChat Pay could further help Apple drive sales on Apple Music and the App Store. The company last year enabled support for AliPay, at present the largest mobile payment service. But according to numbers from research firms, WeChat Pay is quickly closing in on the gap. It is currently estimated to have north of 40 percent market share in the mobile payment services in the nation while Apple has only about one percent of the pie.
Chinese state media described the announcement as Apple “lowering its head to Tencent.” While another outlet said, “Come come come, every dog will have his day. Now it’s [Tencent’s] Pony’s turn to get the 30 percent fee.”