Swatch first to get a grip on contactless in China

Swatch Group has linked up with UnionPay to create the company’s first timepiece capable of contactless payments.

Bloomberg is reporting that the Swatch Bellamy, which features an embedded NFC chip, will go on sale in China at Bocom and Swatch stores from January, priced at 580 yuan (£60) before a later roll-out in Switzerland.

The timepiece will allow Chinese UnionPay customers to make contactless payments at retailers. UnionPay has become widely accepted as a form of payment at retailers in international tourist hotspots, including London, in recent years to cater for visiting Chinese shoppers.

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Both Apple and Samsung have launched their own contactless payment systems in recent months, developed with their respective smart watches in mind. Neither Apple nor Samsung are compatible with UnionPay.

When asked why Swatch was launching the watch in China first, chief executive officer Nick Hayek told Bloomberg that while Swatch considers Switzerland its home, “my God, it takes months and months and years [to do something new with Swiss banks]”.

According to China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, mobile transactions increased by 134 percent last year to 22.6 trillion yuan (£2.3 trillion).

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