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Newcomers shake up China's mobile payment industry

Apple Pay and China UnionPay stickers adorn a glass door in Beijing. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Mobile payments have been embraced in China at a rate unseen anywhere else in the world, reaching approximately 16.3 trillion yuan ($2.5 trillion) in 2015. Whether it's buying plane tickets or electronics or even paying utility bills, the Chinese consumer instinctively reaches for his or her smartphone. This is largely due to a consumer class that has leapfrogged the era of the personal computer and jumped directly into the smartphone age. China's mobile payments industry has entered a new and exciting phase.

There have always been alternatives to the dominant Alipay and WeChat Pay sevices, but in the past year credible challengers have started to emerge. February saw the launch of Apple Pay, in partnership with state-owned payment processor China UnionPay. Samsung Pay arrived a month later. Viable alternatives backed by companies including Huawei Technologies, Xiaomi and LeEco are the latest to arrive.

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