New claims by Bloomberg suggest that Apple Pay may finally be coming to China following recent launches in the UK, Canada and Australia. The report, which cites people familiar with the matter, claims that Apple has struck an agreement with China’s UnionPay that would see Apple Pay work with the firm’s point-of-sale terminals throughout the country.
Apple and UnionPay have been working to bring Apple Pay to China for a while now, and it seems that the latter has decided that supporting Apple Pay would give it a helping hand in staving off competition from the likes of Alibaba Group and Tencent. The deal would see Apple Pay supported by around five million NFC terminals in the country.
While Bloomberg believes that a deal has essentially been struck, it’s important to note that the agreement has yet to be finalized fully, leaving room for things to change or fall apart completely before China’s iPhone-carrying masses can use their smartphones to buy things.
Details of the agreement are yet to be finalized, pending feedback from banks that issue cards, said the people, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Shanghai-based UnionPay, the nation’s largest payment and clearing network, aims to introduce Apple Pay as soon as next year, one of the people said.
Similar reports have penciled China’s Apple Pay roll-out for around February 2016, though again, that date is in flux given the fact that no solid deal has yet been signed, sealed and delivered between Apple and UnionPay. When it is, though, things are expected to move fairly swiftly.
Apple Pay allows users of iPhones and iPads to pay for products and services without needing to use a debit or credit card and has proven popular in countries where it is supported. China is likely to be no different in that regard if and when Apple Pay arrives.
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