It's official--Apple Pay is coming to China.
Apple announced that its mobile payments service, Apple Pay, is coming to China in 2016. In a statement, the iPhone maker said that it is working with China UnionPay to bring Apple Pay into the country. UnionPay is China's only bank card organization and it is run by the People's Bank of China.
Apple hopes to launch Apple Pay in early 2016. Earlier reports said that Apple wants its payments service running before the Chinese Spring Festival in February. Chinese regulators, however, will need to conduct a series of tests to prove that Apple Pay complies with China's financial industry standards.
Apple Pay will work with China UnionPay’s QuickPass, which is a contactless payment system similar to MasterCard's PayPass or Visa's payWave. This means that UnionPay cardholders will soon be able to add their bank cards to Apple Pay on their iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.
If everything goes well, China will be the fifth country to support Apple Pay. The payments service is now available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia. Apple plans to bring the service to Hong Kong, Spain, and Singapore early next year.
China is a top priority for Apple. China UnionPay has over 5 billion users, both at home and abroad, and is supported by more than 26 million merchants and 1.9 million ATMs. But getting the approval of the Chinese regulators won't be easy. The electronic payments system in China is dominated by local services like Tencent's WeChat, and Alibaba's AliPay.
“Apple Pay has revolutionized the way millions of people pay every day with their iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks, users will soon have a convenient, private and secure payment experience.”
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