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Swatch Beats Apple to Mobile Pay in China With New Watch

by Arjun Kharpal, CNBC /

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Swatch has beaten Apple to mobile payments in China after launching a new watch –- but it's not technically a smartwatch.

The Swiss timepiece maker unveiled the Swatch Bellamy on Wednesday –- an analog watch with a chip inside that allows you to do contactless payments.

Read More: From Apple to Sony, a Smartwatch for Every Wrist

It does not connect to the Internet or your phone, but instead contains near-field communication technology that allows a user to pay by touching their watch on a terminal.

Swatch has struck partnerships with China UnionPay –- which holds a virtual monopoly over payments in China – and Bank of Communications in order to bring the feature to the world's second-largest economy.

The Swatch Bellamy is the company's attempt to fend off the challenge posed by the Apple Watch. Analysts say that Swatch is one of the most exposed companies to the Apple Watch threat because of the lower-end brands it sells. On Monday, the CEO of TAG Heuer told CNBC, that Apple's device is "big competition" in the price segment between $200 and $2,000.

And China is a very important market for Swatch with 45 percent of sales coming from Chinese consumers, according to Bernstein estimates.

Read More: Swatch Set to Launch Its First Smartwatch in the U.S.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

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