Swatch beats Apple to China mobile payments market with Bellamy watch

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 2015
Swatch, the world's largest watchmaker by revenue, on Wednesday announced immediate Chinese availability of Bellamy, an NFC-toting watch capable of conducting mobile transactions processed by credit card operator UnionPay and the state-owned Bank of Communications Co.


Swatch's Bellamy watch launched in China on Wednesday with support for NFC mobile payments.
Source: Sina Weibo


For Swatch, today's launch represents a foot in the Chinese payments industry door, but more importantly a head start on Apple, which hopes to market its own touchless solution in Apple Pay on Apple Watch. With its mass appeal and huge installed customer base, Apple is viewed by some as a legitimate threat to traditional watchmakers in the battle for the wrist.

Priced at 600 yuan (about $95), and without Internet connectivity, Bellamy is certainly not a direct segment competitor to Apple's wearable. But as The Wall Street Journal reports, Swatch launched its new product in partnership with UnionPay, China's only viable processor of NFC payments. That deal, alongside a separate collaboration with China's Bank of Communications, grants the Swiss watch conglomerate unfettered access to the country's mobile payments infrastructure.

Apple has been trying to strike a deal with UnionPay for more than a year, but talks reportedly stalled in February. The road to an amicable agreement could be a rocky one considering an impasse over usage rates and Apple's reluctance to store customer data on in-country servers.

As for Swatch, CEO Nick Hayek announced the UnionPay deal in March, saying at the time that his company plans to slowly integrate "smart" features into its various brands, starting with NFC capabilities. He was quick to point out that Swatch is unlikely to bring a full-fledged "smartwatch" to market, nor does the company plan to build health tracking functions into its lineup.

"We are not a consumer technology company," Hayek said. "We don't want to produce a reduced, minimized mobile phone on your wrist."

Hayek initially dismissed the idea of an Apple branded wearable in 2013, but his tune quickly changed. In February, five months after Apple unveiled Watch and two months prior to its sales debut, the Swatch chief announced competitors to both Apple Watch and Apple Pay.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    Sorry Swatch, I'm pretty sure 99.9% of the smart watch market in China will wait for the Apple Watch
  • Reply 2 of 84
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post



    Sorry Swatch, I'm pretty sure 99.9% of the smart watch market in China will wait for the Apple Watch

     

    Exactly. I wonder if this has any protection from theft and being used by someone else. Also, the issue of multiple cards? Does this thing use a mobile app or something to configure it? I understand why they would do this, but that doesn't mean it will work. 

  • Reply 3 of 84
    Also beat Apple to the fugly segment of watches.
  • Reply 4 of 84
    Good grief, those watches are nasty looking.
  • Reply 5 of 84
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Good grief, those watches are nasty looking.



    *Shrug* they look just like any other Swatch. Maybe you're only capable of seeing things only in terms of Not-Apple-Watch...

  • Reply 6 of 84
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 622member
    This is a good complement to the Apple Watch, for example on holidays. It's not a smart watch, but useful when you don't want to carry your wallet to the beach. A definite "buy".
  • Reply 7 of 84

    In a world increasingly relying on apps for every little daily task who is buying these watches?

  • Reply 8 of 84

    they have the deal with the banks but don't have the devices. Perhaps Apple should by swatch 

  • Reply 9 of 84
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Apple enters market.

    Market reacts.

    It's funny how these watchmakers were in the stone ages until ?Watch came.
  • Reply 10 of 84
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 622member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    ... CEO Nick Hayek ... was quick to point out that Swatch is unlikely to bring a full-fledged "smartwatch" to market, nor does the company plan to build health tracking functions into its lineup.



    "We are not a consumer technology company," Hayek said. "We don't want to produce a reduced, minimized mobile phone on your wrist."



    .... In February, ... the Swatch chief announced competitors to both Apple Watch and Apple Pay.

     

    Which one is it IA, did Hayek announce a competitor, or announce that they won't compete?

  • Reply 11 of 84
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    WTF?! This sucks!  Frickin line-cutters...

    ?Pay is going to get into China same way iPhone did; extreeeeeeemely slowly.

  • Reply 12 of 84
    M
    sflagel wrote: »
    Which one is it IA, did Hayek announce a competitor, or announce that they won't compete?

    Might want to go back and read the article from start to finish and pay a little more attention to it. Prior to Apple Watch Swatch was dismissive of smart watches. After the ?WATCH they changed their tune and announced their new competing products. It's right there in the article.
  • Reply 13 of 84
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 622member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lolliver View Post



    M

    Might want to go back and read the article from start to finish and pay a little more attention to it. Prior to Apple Watch Swatch was dismissive of smart watches. After the ?WATCH they changed their tune and announced their new competing products. It's right there in the article.

    Yes, the timeline is quite clear:

     

    February: "the Swatch chief announced competitors to both Apple Watch and Apple Pay".

     

    March: "He was quick to point out that Swatch is unlikely to bring a full-fledged "smartwatch" to market ... , we don't want to produce a reduced, minimized mobile phone on your wrist."

     

    ?So the latest statement is that they won't compete. And they shouldn't. An NFC capable watch, onto which I can load one credit card (the one I use 99.9% of the time), for $ 99, is a nice complementary product to the Apple watch.

  • Reply 14 of 84
    I don't know if Apple Pay will be welcomed by Chinese customers.
    But I get say one thing: China is not a place for NFC payment right now.
    You can go to KFC, supermarket with Alibaba's QR code for payment, you can take a picture of the vending machine to pay in WeChat
    But not NFC.

    So far, NFC has nothing to do with payment in China beside transit.
    And please don't get me started on how many incompatible standard China has on those metro/bus card, and how difficult it would be for a watch without connectivity to work with those.

    But I guess we could always go to the watch shop, sit for half an hour, just to change the NFC chip to go to another town, like someone who stuck between 20 century efficiency and 21 century technology.
  • Reply 15 of 84
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post



    Sorry Swatch, I'm pretty sure 99.9% of the smart watch market in China will wait for the Apple Watch



    It will be like waiting for Godot then.  Apple are not going to be allowed into the Chinese market while they insist on transaction fees that are higher than those the incumbent operator charges.  Even if they matched the rate, I don't see any incentive for UnionPay to let them in as there would be nothing in it for them and they could only lose revenue.  It's not unlike the situation in Australia.  The banks see no reason to let Apple freeload on their infrastructure and investment while also reducing their revenue, all while asking for higher transaction fees.

  • Reply 16 of 84
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,155member
    You get what you pay for.
  • Reply 17 of 84
    Jokes.
  • Reply 18 of 84
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 622member

    I think it is inappropriate to have this type of article on this website. It's only to draw derision. It's like having an article on electric bicycles or pedelec in a magazine for high performance motorbikes. Two different products, each one with a reason to exist.

  • Reply 19 of 84
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    DOA.
  • Reply 20 of 84
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by vfx2k4 View Post

     



    *Shrug* they look just like any other Swatch. Maybe you're only capable of seeing things only in terms of Not-Apple-Watch...


     

    Traditional Swatch watches (not one from their higher end divisions) are nasty looking, been thinking since the 1980s when I certainly wasn't owning anything Apple. Though did work on (but didn't own) Apple II in the late 1970s early 1980s.

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