Swatch overhauls mobile-payment watches for Chinese market

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Swiss watch giant Swatch has launched a redesigned generation of its chip-embedded mobile-payment enabled watches for trade in China.

The technology enabled timepieces can be linked to credit cards issued by 11 partner banks, in addition to debit cards.

Swatch unveiled its first-generation watches in 2015, offers payment functions in partnership with China Unionpay. China Unionpay is currently the country’s dominant currency-clearing company and credit-card issuer.

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Chief executive of Swatch Group, Nick Hayek, said the newly redesigned chip technology will ensure the protection of personal data whilst also offering a longer battery life.

Chinese consumers completed 58.8 trillion yuan (£6.7tn) of mobile transactions in 2016, compared with 12.2 trillion (1.4bn) yuan the previous year.

When asked why Swatch was launching the watch in China first, 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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