Huawei's mobile wallet takes on Apple Pay in Singapore

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Huawei Pay hopes to benefit from UnionPay's network and scale as it launches in Singapore, a market that already has several large mobile pay apps including Apple Pay.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China of Singapore (ICBC Singapore) will be the first bank to launch Huawei Pay in an exclusive partnership that will include a short-term rewards program to entice accountholder signups and usage.

Almost all of Singapore’s ATMs and more than 90% of the country’s merchants already support UnionPay cards, according to the South China Morning Post. Huawei Pay employs facial and fingerprint recognition to authenticate customers for retail purchases and employs NFC technology to enable in-store payments using Huawei phones.

The launch of Huawei Pay comes at a time when Singapore is completely flush with a number of different mobile services being provided by a number of companies. Rival handset maker Apple launched its Apple Pay service in 2016.

Rival Chinese mobile payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay have long been in the country and have run “cashless” tourist promotions for visitors. Super app Grab offers GrabPay and even launched a physical card in 2019 to complement its mobile payment service. There are also local mobile payment schemes such as FavePay and PayNow.

Singapore is Huawei Pay's second market outside China, following Russia, which launched in 2019. Huawei and UnionPay jointly launched the Huawei Pay service in China in 2016. And Huawei signed a global cooperation agreement with UnionPay in Shenzhen in 2018.

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