An update from the credit card app of China Merchants Bank suggests that Apple Pay will be launched in China on Thursday.
It supports a leak on Monday about the Apple Pay’s release.
“Apple and China Unionpay have both confirmed that Apple Pay is coming to China on February 18,” said the Wechat public account of the China Guangfa Bank credit card.
The post said that to use Apple Pay, iPhone and iPad users will need iOS 9.2 or later, and Apple Watch users will need Watch OS 2.1 or later.
Apple announced it will bring Apple Pay to China last December. “Apple Pay will roll out to China UnionPay cardholders as soon as early 2016”, said Apple in a press release.
In late January, a leaked training document from another payment partner, China Minsheng Bank, said Apple Pay is planning to start operating in early February.
Under the technological support of UnionPay’s Quickpass, once Apple Pay is available in China, UnionPay cardholders will be able to pay with the touch of a finger by holding Apple devices near POS terminals. They can also make in-app purchases with bank cards added to Apple Pay on the devices.
According to Apple’s official website, there are now a total of 19 Chinese banks partnering with Apple Pay, including the big four state-run banks: Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China. Others on the list include the Bank of Communications, China Citic Bank, China Merchants Bank, China Minsheng Bank and SPD Bank.
It is a smart move for Apple to cooperate with UnionPay, a bank card network operating China’s national inter-bank clearing and settlement system. Yet it still has a hard battle to fight in the mobile payment battlefield of China where the market is already divided between Alibaba-backed Alipay, Tencent-backed WeChat Wallet and the ambitious late-comer Baidu Wallet. Apple’s close rival Samsung also announced it will enter the war by working with UnionPay to introduce its business to China.
China is now the first country in Asia and the fifth globally to introduce Apple Pay, following the U.S. in October 2014, the U.K. last July, and Australia and Canada last November. Its launches in Singapore, Hong Kong and Spain are scheduled for later this year.
(Top photo from Apple.com)