Apple chief executive Tim Cook just moments ago in a live interview at The Wall Street Journal: Digital conference claimed that he will be entering talks with Jack Ma, executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, about a potential partnership with the online enterprise “later this week.” Any potential partnership between Apple and Alibaba would likely involve the integration of Apple Pay and Alipay across Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.

Ma noted during his own interview at the WSJD conference this evening that Alipay has grown to become the third-largest payment system in the world behind Visa and MasterCard. When questioned about whether Apple Pay and Alipay can reach a partnership together, the chairman enthusiastically added that he hopes the two companies “can get something together.”

The Wall Street Journal claims that Alibaba is the number one destination for online shopping as the world’s biggest e-commerce company. The trio of websites under ownership of the Alibaba Group had combined sales transactions of $248 billion last year, more than Amazon and eBay combined. As such, any partnership with Alibaba would prove to be a very lucrative opportunity for Apple.

China has become an increasingly important market for Apple under the leadership of Tim Cook, who has always had close ties with the world’s most populous country since his days as head of operations under Steve Jobs. Cook previously noted that it is “just a matter of time” before China becomes Apple’s biggest source of revenue, a reservation that currently belongs to the United States.

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