The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has just updated the official iOS app of its Alipay payment platform with support for Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanning technology.
Of course, Touch ID integration in Alipay allows users, most of whom are in mainland China, to protect their data and access the same in the app using their fingerprints. Touch ID is supported on iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus (the latter two of which were launched in China in October) as well as on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 (which are set to be launched in China this week).
More importantly, as noted by Quartz, the introduction of Touch ID support in Alipay comes amid reports of Alibaba and Apple’s ongoing talks about a possible Apple Pay-focused partnership.
A month ago, Alibaba vice chairman Joseph Tsai said that the partnership would likely involve Alipay’s provision of backend services for Apple’s mobile payment service, which was first launched in the U.S. in October. This would enable iPhone users to make purchases with Apple Pay using the money in their Alipay accounts.
See also: Musician Gwen Stefani and MasterCard join forces to help promote Apple Pay, My Apple Pay experience at Bloomingdale’s left me feeling Ugg, and Apple now supports UnionPay for one-tap purchases on the App Store in China.