Oberthur Technologies has teamed with Chinese smartwatch maker Mobvoi and China UnionPay (CUP), to add contactless payments technology to Mobvoi’s popular Ticwatch.

CUP late last year announced support for Apple Pay and Samsung Pay in what observers say is a strategic move to counter rival Chinese mobile payments services from Alipay and Tencent.

Colombes, France-based Oberthur will provide a secure element to be embedded in the next Ticwatch model, which the companies expect to be one of the first Android smartwatches in China to enable contactless payments, according to a June 4 press release.

The secure element Oberthur is supplying will support payment, transit, government and automotive applications, the companies said.

China’s central bank has issued guidance for all payment terminals in the nation to support contactless payments by the middle of next year, the release said.

To activate payments on the Ticwatch, users must install the Ticpay app on a smartphone and link a payment card to it.  

Ticwatch initially will only support contactless payments in China, but Mobvoi hopes to expand the product to other markets, ZhiFei Li, Mobvoi's founder and CEO said in the release.

Marek Juda, managing director of Oberthur's connected device business, said the company welcomes the opportunity to add payments technology to the next generation of Ticwatch smartwatches, including China CUP's contactless payments and transport applications for major Chinese city operators.

Oberthur will demonstrate the payments feature on new Ticwatch models later this month at Shanghai's Mobile World Congress, the companies said.

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