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Alibaba's Jack Ma "Very Interested" in Possible Apple Partnership

Jack Ma and Tim Cook expressed public interest in a partnership Monday night between Alipay and Apple Pay.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Jack Ma, co-founder and chairman of Alibaba and China’s richest man, is interested in partnering Alipay with Apple’s new mobile payments system, Apple Pay. “I’m very interested in that,” Ma said onstage at the Wall Street Journal Digital conference Monday in Laguna Beach, Calif. “I hope we can do something together.”

Ma spoke highly of Apple and CEO Tim Cook (who was in the audience) on multiple occasions during a half-hour interview. Ma is the majority stakeholder in Alipay, a Paypal-like service once owned by Alibaba that has since been spun off. Ma did not say whether or not anything was officially in the works.

Update: Tim Cook reciprocated Ma’s interest in a possible partnership during his own 30-minute interview at the same event Monday. Cook said the two will talk this week about a potential partnership.

“I have the utmost respect for Jack. We love to partner with people who are wicked smart, have flexible teams, who are product based and push us. I think Jack has a company that’s exactly like that,” he said. “If we can find some areas of common space, I’d love it.”

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