Walmart is partnering with Alipay, the payments affiliate of Alibaba Group to accept mobile payments in 25 stores in Shenzen with the goal of having it available in all 410 Walmart stores in China by the end of the year.
"Alipay will help us serve our customers better by allowing mobile payment in seconds," Marilee McInnis, an international corporate affairs representative for Walmart, stated in an e-mail.
Ant Financial, which operates Alipay, is executing the partnership with Walmart in China. Ant Financial also oversaw Alibaba's initial public offering earlier this year.
Because consumers initiate an Alipay transaction through a scanned bar code, Walmart will not have to invest in NFC readers as part of the rollout of its mobile payment system in Shenzen.
The announcement comes a day after Apple CEO Tim Cook, while on a trip to China to present Apple's environmental initiatives in that country, revealed his company is working with Chinese banks and Alibaba to bring Apple Pay to China. Apple Pay operates on NFC when used at the point of sale.
Walmart, a key member of the Merchant Customer Exchange mobile wallet venture in the U.S., has largely resisted Apple Pay in favor of the CurrentC wallet the merchants are developing. However, another key MCX member, Best Buy, has agreed to accept Apple Pay, signaling an end to MCX's attitude of exclusivity.