Updated from 4:17 p.m. to include additional information on ShoreTel.

SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) – Apple (AAPL) unveiled a key strategy to appeal to China's massive consumer market, with its announcement Sunday of a partnership with China's bankcard network UnionPay. Meanwhile, China's large ecommerce player JD.com (JD) plunged, following its quarterly results, and ShoreTel (SHOR) tanks as Mitel (MITL) walks from a buyout deal.

As part of its UnionPay partnership, Apple's App Store is adding UnionPay as a payment option. Customers in China can link their Apple ID with a UnionPay debit or credit card to execute app transactions on their Apple device with one tap. One of the important things for Apple investors to note is that the number of UnionPay cards that have been issued in China and abroad exceed 4.5 billion, according to Apple.


"The ability to buy apps and make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most requested features from our customers in China," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services in a press release, announcing the partnership.

Cute added that China is Apple's second largest market for app downloads. With UnionPay, Apple stands to pick up even more app customers, with the total number of cards issued having surpassed 4.5 billion.

Meanwhile, smartphone e-commerce transactions are expected to shoot up to more than 2 billion transactions by 2017, according to a Juniper Research report, with one one of the drivers is likely to be Apple's Apple Pay.

Apple shares closed the regular session down, falling 0.17% to finish at $113.99.


JD.com, one of China's largest business-to-consumer e-commerce companies, plunged 7.8% to close at $24.91.

Before the markets opened Monday, the company announced its third quarter results, reporting a net loss of 2 cents a share on revenue of $4.7 billion. While it beat Wall Street's expectations of revenue of $4.67 billion, it fell short of the 1 cent earnings per share estimate held by analysts.

"We maintained excellent momentum in the third quarter as we saw stronger than expected year-over-year growth in both gross merchandise volume and active customer accounts," said CEO Richard Liu in a press release. "We solidified our market leadership through multiple initiatives to enhance customer experience, extend coverage in lower-tier cities, increase mobile penetration and position JD.com as the most trusted e-commerce platform in China."

The company attributed its loss to some of the assets and acquisitions tied to its strategic partnership with Tencent Holdings and the amoritization of those assets.


ShoreTel plunged 9.7% to close at $7.41, after an unwanted suitor walked away.

ShoreTel, which makes voice-over-Internet equipment, attracted the attention of a Canadian competitor Mitel Networks last month, which offered $8.10 per share in cash to acquire the ShoreTel. A week later, ShorTel's board rejected the offer, stating it undervalued the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company and its future prospects.

On Nov. 10, ShoreTel confirmed Mitel had returned with another offer for the company, this time boosting the offer to $8.50 a share in cash and stock. Two days later, ShoreTel's board rejected the offer, with Chairman Chuck Kissner stating: 

"After careful deliberation, ShoreTel's Board of Directors has determined that the incremental value represented by Mitel's revised, unsolicited proposal is highly inadequate, and that this revised proposal is again an opportunistic attempt to acquire ShoreTel. We continue to believe that Mitel's highly inadequate proposal does not reflect the value inherent in ShoreTel's business, nor does it reflect ShoreTel's compelling prospects for long-term growth and value creation."

Apparently feeling the sting of the second rejection, the Canadian business communications company decided to withdraw its offer. In a statement released Monday, the company said: 

"The decision to terminate the proposal early was made in light of the repeated refusal of ShoreTel's board of directors to engage in discussions of any kind regarding a potential transaction."

And while Mitel says it is tired of trying to engage ShoreTel's board in buyout discussions, it's unclear at this time whether the bidder from the north will try to approach ShoreTel's shareholders directly in a hostile bid for the company.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.


TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report

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