For Swatch, today’s launch represents a foot in the Chinese payments industry door, but more importantly a head start on Apple, which hopes to market its own touchless solution in Apple Pay on Apple Watch. With its mass appeal and huge installed customer base, Apple is viewed by some as a legitimate threat to traditional watchmakers in the battle for the wrist.
Priced at 600 yuan (about $95), and without Internet connectivity, Bellamy is certainly not a direct segment competitor to Apple’s wearable. But as The Wall Street Journal reports, Swatch launched its new product in partnership with UnionPay, China’s only viable processor of NFC payments. That deal, alongside a separate collaboration with China’s Bank of Communications, grants the Swiss watch conglomerate unfettered access to the country’s mobile payments infrastructure.