Uber Takes Its Alipay Partnership Global To Tap Into Chinese Travelers

uber china Uber is hoping to squeeze more money from users in China after it announced a tie-in with Alibaba’s Alipay that will enable Uber China customers to pay their bill using the payments service when they are overseas. Read More

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Africa’s Tech Gold Rush

kigali Africa is on the verge of something big. This seems to be a quiet, cautious consensus in some investment communities. The past year has been peppered with stories of tech startup hubs emerging across the continent, from Lagos to Kigali to Agadir. The model of American tech entrepreneurship looks to be slowly sparking a renaissance in the Silicon Sahara. Read More

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Angela Ahrendts Says She Views Apple Store Staff as ‘Executives’

angela_ahrendts_heroAngela Ahrendts spoke yesterday to Fast Company about her first two years as Apple’s retail chief and her strategy to improve the company’s customer experience at its global chain of retail stores.

In an interview titled “Apple’s Angela Ahrendts On What It Takes To Make Change Inside A Successful Business,” the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores explains that, in her first six months at Apple, she travelled to 40 different markets and met with retail leaders to learn about how stores were “uniting people and getting them to collaborate.”

When asked if Apple Store staff feel the same pride working for the company as Cupertino employees do, Ahrendts boasted about the company’s 81% retention rate in 2015:

We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had: 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony Ive and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way.

Ahrendts goes on to explain that her experience at Apple has taught her just how strong the culture is within the company, which was “built to change people’s lives”, and that the same core value is being continued by Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook:

That foundation, that service mentality, that drive to continue to change lives — that is a core value in the company. And Tim Cook has added his on: He says it’s also our responsibility to leave it better than we found it. So you have these two amazing pillars and a culture built around that. It’s the same in retail and in Cupertino. That is the underlying mission, and how could you know that unless you’re inside? But it is deeper than you would ever imagine.

Apple has aggressively expanded in China under Ahrendts’ retail leadership, with stores opening last year in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanjing and Tianjin, and several more on the way throughout 2016.

In an interview for 60 Minutes late last year, Ahrendts spoke about how Apple is continually refining new designs for its stores worldwide to achieve a common “wow” factor, so that customers are “transfixed” from the moment they walk through the doors.

Ahrendts officially joined Apple in mid-2014 to replace former SVP of Retail John Browett, who was fired from the company a year and a half earlier. Previously CEO of hugely successful UK fashion retailer Burberry, she is currently Apple’s highest paid executive, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Read more of the Fast Company interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts here.

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Tesla wants a factory in China, and fast

Ahead of his participation in a Hong Kong technology forum tomorrow, the ever so busy Elon Musk has managed to take some time out to give us an update on how Tesla's doing in Greater China. Without revealing specific sales figures, the CEO told Engad…

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Apple Pay Seemingly Nearing Launch in China With UnionPay

A pair of new videos appear to show Apple Pay working with UnionPay bank cards in China for both in-store and in-app purchases.

Apple-Pay-UnionPay

In the first video, a customer appears able to select a UnionPay card in Apple Pay and hold his iPhone near a QuickPass-enabled Verifone payment terminal to complete a purchase at McDonald’s. The terminal says “transaction completed” and the self-checkout kiosk proceeds to print a paper receipt.



The second video appears to show an iPhone user selecting a UnionPay card in Apple Pay and making an in-app purchase within Chinese travel app Ctrip. The transaction looks to be secured with Touch ID and approved. The veracity of either of the two videos cannot be confirmed, but the timing makes sense.



Last month, Apple announced that Apple Pay will expand to China in early 2016 in partnership with UnionPay, a state-run interbank network that holds a monopoly on the country’s credit and debit card processing. UnionPay cardholders will be able to use Apple Pay on iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad — the latter for in-app purchases only.
“Apple Pay has revolutionized the way millions of people pay every day with their iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks, users will soon have a convenient, private and secure payment experience.”

China will be the fifth country to adopt Apple Pay since its U.S. launch in October 2014. The mobile payments service expanded to the United Kingdom in July 2015, followed by Australia and Canada last November in partnership with American Express. Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain will gain support later this year.

Apple Pay may officially launch in China by February 8, the first day of the Spring Festival.

(Thanks, Jarod!)

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tags: China, UnionPay

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In China, $100 already gets you a nice metallic smartphone

Why yes, here's yet another dirt cheap Chinese smartphone from none other than Xiaomi. The Redmi 3 is the company's latest budget device that costs just 699 yuan (about $107) off contract, which is pretty good considering it comes with a metallic bod…

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Apple to Open Yet Another Two Chinese Stores in Guangzhou and Nanjing

Apple has announced that its 31st and 32nd retail stores in China will open in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu, and Guangzhou on Saturday, January 16 and Thursday, January 28 respectively. Both stores will open at 10:00 a.m. local time.

The first store will be located in the IST shopping mall at 100 Zhongshan Road in Nanjing’s Xuanwu District, while the Guangzhou store will open at the Parc Central retail development at 218 Tianhe Road in the city’s Tianhe District.

Guangzhou-Parc-Central-Apple-Store

Parc Central retail development render in Guangzhou, China (Image: Benoy)


The new stores will be open Monday to Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time, and each will offer a Genius Bar and other traditional Apple Store services. Apple is quickly approaching its goal of opening 40 new retail stores in China. The locations will mark Apple’s 27th and 28th retail stores in mainland China, while the company also operates four retail stores in Hong Kong.

Apple has aggressively expanded its footprint in China under the leadership of retail chief Angela Ahrendts, with new stores in Xiamen on January 14, Shenyang on January 9, Nanning on December 12, Beijing on November 28 and Chengdu on November 21. Apple opened its first retail store in Nanjing, alongside new stores in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong and Tianjin, throughout 2015.

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Apple’s 30th Retail Store in China Opens in Xiamen on January 14

Apple has announced that its 30th retail store in China opens in Xiamen, a major port city along the Taiwan Strait, on Thursday, January 14 at 10:00 a.m. local time. The store will be located in the SM Lifestyle Center shopping mall at 399 Jiahe Road in the city’s southeastern Siming District.

SM Lifestyle Center

SM Lifestyle Center in Xiamen, China (Image: What’s On Xiamen)


The new store will be open Monday to Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time, and offer traditional Apple Store services, including the Genius Bar, Workshops, JointVenture, events and seminars. It will mark Apple’s 26th retail store in mainland China, while the company also operates four retail stores in Hong Kong.

Apple has aggressively expanded its footprint in China under the leadership of retail chief Angela Ahrendts, with new stores in Shenyang on January 9, Nanning on December 12, Beijing on November 28 and Chengdu on November 21. Apple also opened retail stores in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanjing and Tianjin throughout 2015.

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