Swatch Mobile-Payment Watch Debuts In China
Watch makers are feeling the competition in the timepiece business, as more and more tech companies are reinventing the timeless device into something more. Smartwatches have a worldwide market, and as tech firms introduce one innovation after another, established watch makers feel the need to keep up with the hype and secure their niche in a business that has defined them.
Tag Heuer is said to be collaborating with Google to release a smartwatch while Swiss watch maker Swatch has collaborated with China Union PayCo., a payment service in the country, to come up with its newest watch, the Swatch Bellamy. The device has a mobile payment feature. By most standards, the Swatch Bellamy is not exactly a smartwatch.
The Swatch Bellamy is an analog watch that does not have an Internet connection Bloomberg reported. The focus of the new product is narrowed down to the mobile payment feature. The wearable retails for US$91 or 580 yuan and is set to roll out to Swatch outlets in China this January. The device will also be sold by Bocom, and will later be released in the United States and in Switzerland.
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek has hyped the new wearable's release over the last couple of months, and the China launch seems to be a strategic move. The country is a huge market for watches, and the timepiece is a status symbol in China. Traditional watch makers have seen a decline in the Chinese market, as more consumers opt for the technologically-equipped smartwatches.
"It is important for Swatch to have its own version of the 'smartwatch', as Apple and other technology companies seek to build beachheads on the left wrist," Analyst Luca Solca of Exane BNP Paribas said of Swatch's introduction of Bellamy. "This is one game for Swatch in a match which is clearly not over."
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