Apple has today announced that it has created a partnership with UnionPay as part of plans to introduce its own payment platform into the Chinese market. The official presser outlines plans to infiltrate the Chinese market with Apple Pay in 2016 through the new partnership, effectively allowing Chinese consumers to pay for goods and services through contactless methods using a compatible iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad.

The official announcement summarizes the partnership with UnionPay and specifies that Apple Pay will support fifteen of China’s leading banks as soon as it launches. The notation however doesn’t go as far as outlining exactly which banks Apple and UnionPay will be supporting so it’s likely that consumers will have to wait until they receive official notification from their own bank as to whether Apple Pay will be supported when it launches in the country.


Apple’s Eddy Cue, who operates as Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, chimed in with his thoughts on the importance of the partnership:

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.

It should also come as good news that ApplePay will work in conjunction with QuickPass, UnionPay’s existing contactless payment method in the country. Those consumers with an iOS or watchOS device will simply be able to present the hardware to an existing UnionPay contactless terminal to activate Apple’s payment protocol with minimal fuss. Chai Hongfeng, Executive Vice President of China UnionPay, mimicked Eddy Cue’s thoughts:

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. We’re very excited to offer Apple Pay among a diverse set of innovative payment options that work with China UnionPay QuickPass.

Apple Pay square

Apple Pay has had a fairly interesting ride since it was originally launched in the United States. The Cupertino-based company has continually attempted to form partnerships with leading banking organizations that has resulted in the rollout of the service in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and now China. There’s no official date for this latest rollout, but Apple has promised it will be available as soon as “relevant tests and certifications” that are required by Chinese regulators, have been adhered to.

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