Shoppers can now use Alipay in all of mainland China's 41 Apple retail stores, the first time a third-party payment system has been accepted by the firm in store.

The Alipay app now has a new section where users can link their Apple accounts to their Alipay account and find special offers for spending in physical Apple stores.

Apple has seen mixed success in China. Its products are doing well, its mobile payment system Apple Pay less so.

The country is Apple's second largest retail market after the US and sales have grown for the last two quarters, an increase of 11% in its combined fiscal first-quarter revenue to a record $17.9 billion. Much of this comes from demand for the iPhone.

Adding Alipay as a payment option in store is in line with making sales as convenient as possible for shoppers. WeChat Pay is on a trajectory to surpass Alipay in terms of total transaction volume, though shoppers have a tendency to use Alipay for larger purchases (Apple products, for example) and WeChat for day-to-day shopping such as groceries and convenience stores.

Despite there being an estimated 243 million iPhone users in China as of July 2017, the take-up of Apple Pay has been limited. Shoppers were already firmly in the habit of using Alipay and then WeChat Pay via QR codes.

Ant Financial's Alipay has been available as a payment method in Apple's App Store since November 2016. Tencent's WeChat Pay is also an option for making app store payments. Alipay users with Apple IDs linked to the China App Store can now bind the two accounts with a newly-created area with the Alipay app.

According to Ant Financial, those who activate the function will be able to make payments in the App Store with Alipay and receive offers for spending in Apple Stores with Alipay.