Alibaba, Apple talk up possible alliance in mobile payment

Alibaba's founder Jack Ma and Apple CEO Tim Cook say they're open to a partnership involving their mobile payment systems Alipay Wallet and Apple Pay.

Apple's love fest with China may further extend to include Alibaba, following suggestions from both companies that a tieup in mobile payment could be a possibility. 

Speaking separately Tuesday at the WSJDLive tech conference in California, U.S., Alibaba's head honcho Jack Ma and Apple CEO Tim Cook said they were open to a partnership involving their mobile payment systems Alipay Wallet  and Apple Pay , reported Bloomberg.

Asked if there was any synergy between the two payment apps, Ma said: "I'm very interested in that. As always, a good marriage needs both sides working [hard at it]. I respect Apple and respect Tim very, very much." 

Cook, who recently rounded up a visit to China where he hopes to open more Apple stores , said he was also open to any potential union. "I love what he's done, I think he's a brilliant guy. I think he has brilliant people at the company so if we can find some areas of common space, I love it. 

"We love to partner with people that are wicked smart, that have flexible teams, that are product based and that push us and we like to push them. I think Jack has a company just like that."

And who wouldn't, especially when the value of mobile transactions in China last year climbed 317.56 percent to 9.64 trillion yuan (US$1.58 trillion) on a 212.86 percent increase in volume to 1.67 billion. Mobile payments accounted for some 3 percent of the country's overall non-cash transactions last year, as more consumers in the country turned to their devices to make purchases. 

Alipay Wallet , the mobile version of Alipay, was launched in January 2013 and reached nearly 100 million users, with one-third of Alibaba's daily payments transacted via mobile. Today, Alipay Wallet processes 45 million transactions a day and has 190 million active users.