Jian Dalian, Director of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, confirmed on Thursday that Apple Pay has officially registered in China.
Apple Pay was registered as Apple Technical Service (Shanghai) Ltd. in June with registered capital of USD 13.4 million and a business term up to 30 years, according to public data. Its legal representative, Gary Joseph Wipfler, is the Vice President and Corporate Treasurer of Apple Inc.
Apple Pay is based on NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which was first introduced by Philips and Sony back in 2003. Apple Pay enables users to make payments with their Apple devices in participating stores by touching their devices against store sensors.
There are an estimated 290 million Chinese using online payment systems, according to a report from iResearch Consulting Group. Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat currently attract more users than state-owned UnionPay. Foreign players have also tried to enter the sector.
In May, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China. It’s reported that the major purpose of his visit was to introduce Apple Pay into China. Rumor has it, Cook discussed partnerships with Alipay, China UnionPay and other financial institutes, reports Tencent Tech.
Google’s Android Pay launched in the U.S. earlier this month. Google intends to return to China with a customized version of its Google Play app marketplace, Reuters reports. China may become the next battlefield for Apple and Google as they compete through mobile payments. Apple currently appears to have the lead in the game.
Apple gave no comment as to when Apple Pay would be put into operation in China. Apple Pay is now only available in U.S. and U.K.
The Shanghai Free Trade Zone was established in 2013 as a test area for trade and commerce with special financial policies. The registering of Apple Pay in the Free Trade Zone may provide its nascent service with greater flexibility in its future operations in China.