Tim Cook: bringing Apple Pay to China ‘is on the top of our list’

tim cook stage

Repeating his favorite line that China, home to 1.33 billion people, is a key market to Apple, CEO Tim Cook said bringing Apple’s revolutionary mobile payments system to the country “is on the top of the list”.

“China is a really key market for us,” Cook told state-run Xinhua news agency Friday. ”Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list.”

Cook and his teams at Apple were still “seeking to understand” the steps needed to make Apple Pay a reality for Chinese customers, the report added.

“We want to bring Apple Pay to China,” he said, “I’m convinced there will be enough people that want to use it. It’s going to be successful.”

BrightWire back in March 2013 asserted that Apple might bring a mobile payments solution to China by teaming up with UnionPay. The agreement would presumably allow users to download the bank card organization’s app to Passbook in their iPhones and make mobile payments.

UnionPay, which is the only domestic bank card organization in all of China, has more than three million “QuickPass” POS machines scattered across the country. Last month, China media group Caixin corroborated BrightWire’s report saying the deal would allow Apple Pay to link to UnionPay cards.

Discussing the Apple Watch, Cook called the market opportunity for this device “enormous”, explaining why he thought Apple Watch is here to stay.

“We are going to wonder how we ever lived without it,” said Cook.

“That’s the real test of a great product: you wonder how you live without it,” Cook added. “And I think that’s going to happen to the Apple Watch.”

The CEO’s four-day trip to China included paying a “lightning” visit to Foxconn’s iPhone manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, meeting with a top Chinese government official in Beijing to talk security amid allegations of government-backed phishing attempts on iCloud users and attending a meeting of the advisory board of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management on Friday.

Cook was also quoted as saying he had “very open”, “fascinating” and “impressive” talks on privacy and security with a senior Chinese official, but declined the specifics.

Finally, and without revealing any cold hard numbers, Cook told China’s official news agency that he was “really happy with how things were going” in terms of sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

[Xinhua via Reuters]