Apple on Thursday announced that it has reached a deal with China UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China in early 2016. The partnership will allow UnionPay cardholders to take advantage of Apple’s mobile payment system on iPhone, Apple Watch and within apps on iPad.
Using Apple Pay in Chinese stores will be as simple as holding your iPhone near a UnionPay QuickPass-enabled POS terminal with your finger on Touch ID. And with Apple Watch, you’ll be able to double click the side button and hold the watch face up to the contactless reader.
From the press release:
“China UnionPay is dedicated to promoting payment innovations and providing secure, convenient mobile payment experiences for its hundreds of millions of cardholders, aligning multiple parties in the industry,” said Chai Hongfeng, executive vice president of China UnionPay. “We’re very excited to offer Apple Pay among a diverse set of innovative payment options that work with China UnionPay QuickPass.”
“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.”
Since launching in the United States last fall, Apple has slowly begun to rollout Apple Pay to other countries like Canada and the UK. And given that China is currently the company’s #2 market, it makes sense that the country is a top priority and seemingly next on the rollout list.
Of course, as with everything Apple does in China, the Apple Pay launch is subject to a stringent set of tests and certifications by the country’s regulators. We’ll be sure to let you know when we get a better idea of the launch timeline, or if we learn any new information. Stay tuned.