Senior Alibaba executive, Joseph Tsai, noted that details of the partnership were still being worked out, but that it would focus on China.
“Right now, I think what we can say is that this is focused on the China market for Apple. We are positive about the potential cooperation, but it depends on the details being worked out.”
One possible partnership between the companies would involve Alibaba's Alipay, an electronic payment system that would integrate with Apple Pay enabling iPhone users to pay using funds from their Alipay account.
One possible scenario is for Alibaba’s financial affiliate, which owns the Alipay electronic-payment business in China, to provide back-end services for Apple’s Apple Pay payment system, allowing iPhone users to pay with Apple Pay using the money from their Alipay accounts, Mr. Tsai said.
The two companies are looking into whether there are opportunities to work together since Apple would have certain restrictions and limitations on operating payments businesses in China, Mr. Tsai said.
Alipay is a prominent online payment system in China, so any partnership would greatly accelerate an Apple Pay rollout in the region.