Apple is set to launch its Apple Pay mobile payment service in China tomorrow according to a social media message from one of the partner banks. First reported by Reuters, Apple itself has kept mum about the news. However, Apple has created the Chinese version on its website for Apple Pay, but as of yet hasn’t added direct links from the main Apple China site (page available here).
Arriving in China with Apple Pay, the service was first unveiled by Apple in December 2015 as the company announced a partnership with China UnionPay. At the time, Apple provided an “early 2016” estimate for the Apple Pay launch that would become available to China UnionPay cardholders.
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According to the Chinese Apple Pay page, Apple has partnered with 19 banks in China that will support the mobile payment system for China UnionPay card holders. The figure expands the initial figure of 15 partners that had been announced in December. Among the partner banks are the ‘big four’- Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
Through their partnership with China UnionPay, Apple Pay will be available for mobile payments at all of the card network QuickPass participating merchants. Operating contactless payment terminals, according to China UnionPay, QuickPass merchants include many popular retail establishments such as 7-11, Starbucks, Carrefour and OK convenience stores. Along with contactless terminals, Apple Pay will also become available for transacting payments on mobile devices from online sites that support China UnionPay.
Looking ahead, following Apple, Samsung Pay is expected to be the next key mobile player launching its payment system in China. Similar to Apple, Samsung partnered with China UnionPay to support Samsung Pay to its card holders in China with an expected launch also slated to be in “early 2016”.