Swatch Group Launches New Smartwatches for China's Mobile-Payment Market

Features Dow Jones Newswires

Swiss watch giant The Swatch Group (SWGAY) on Tuesday launched the second generation of its chip-embedded watches that can be used for mobile payments in China.

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The new watches can be linked credit cards issued by 11 partner banks, in addition to debit cards. In October 2015, Swatch unveiled its first-generation watches with payment functions in partnership with China Unionpay, the country's dominant currency-clearing company and credit-card issuer.

Nick Hayek, chief executive of Swatch Group, said the chip technology will ensure personal data privacy as well as a longer battery life compared with other smartwatches.

Swatch has also simplified the activation process, which was the main barrier for the first-generation watches in gaining market share, said Mr. Hayek.

The company has agreements with Chinese banks including Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China CITIC Bank and Minsheng Bank to support its payment system.

Chinese consumers completed 58.8 trillion yuan ($8.68 billion) of mobile transactions in 2016, compared with 12.2 trillion yuan the previous year, said Zhou Yuedong, vice president of the credit-card center at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

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In December 2015, Apple launched its mobile-payment system in partnership with China Unionpay. Chinese smartphone makers such as Huawei and Meizu have also rolled out payment platforms.

--Yifan Xie

Write to Yifan Xie at yifan.xie@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 18, 2017 04:45 ET (08:45 GMT)