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Swatch China launches pay-by-wrist

Swiss watchmaker Swatch has unveiled its new payment-capable wrist watch in China.

In partnership with China UnionPay and Bank of Communications, the famous watch brand will introduced contactless payment ‘by-the-wrist’ across the mainland.

“The first four watches combine exciting, colorful yet functional Swatch design with built-in NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, allowing people to use their watches to pay for purchases in shops and stores around the country,” the company said in a statement.

“In his fascinating 1888 novel Looking Backward 2000-1887, American writer Edward Bellamy envisions a utopian world in which cash has been replaced by credit/debit cards – Bellamy was the first to write about such cards, 40 years before anyone else. Always happy to acknowledge fellow innovators and visionaries, Swatch has named its new pay-by-the-wrist watch Swatch Bellamy.

NFC technology uses high-frequency radio waves to enable electronic devices to communicate over short distances. The new Swatch Bellamy watches have all the fun, color and design Swatch is famous for – along with a built-in NFC chip hidden under the dial. Like a prepaid bankcard, a Swatch Bellamy watch allows customers to pay for items using merchants’ contactless POS terminals.

Pay-by-the wrist transactions require absolutely no energy at all from the watch. In China Swatch has partnered with UnionPay, China’s bankcard association, to activate the innovative and easy-to-use system, and with Bank of Communications, where customers will be able to purchase the new watches.

Swatch Bellamy celebrated its worldwide premiere at The Swatch Art Peace Hotel on the Bund in Shanghai.

The new payment option with Swatch Bellamy will be rolled out by the partners across China starting in January 2016.  

Swatch Bellamy will also soon be launched in Switzerland with a Swiss bank and secure transaction partner, as well as in the US.

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