Apple Pay Now Available in China Through Partnership With UnionPay

apple_pay_phone_handIt's now February 18 in China, and as was rumored earlier this week, the country is now the fifth location where Apple Pay is officially available. Implemented through a partnership with UnionPay, China's state-run interbank network, Apple Pay in China can be used by iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch owners with an eligible China UnionPay debit or credit card.

"We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market," Apple's vice president of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, told Reuters. China is Apple's second largest market when it comes to revenue after the americas and it has become an increasingly important area of growth for Apple. The company has inked deals with 19 of the biggest lenders in China, which will see 80 percent of credit and debit cards in China eligible for use with Apple Pay.

In retail locations in China, Apple Pay is available on the iPhone 6 and later and the Apple Watch at any location that has a UnionPay-compatible point-of-sale system. Within apps, Apple Pay purchases can be made using an iPhone or iPad that supports NFC, which includes the iPhone 6 and later and the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro.

Apple initially announced its intention to launch Apple Pay in China in December of 2015, with plans to make the service available in early 2016 following the "relevant tests and certification" required by Chinese regulators. The first signs of Apple Pay in the country came in January, with several UnionPay users demonstrating Apple Pay in stores and in apps on YouTube, and the official launch followed today.

Apple Pay is also available in the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia, with plans to extend it to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain later in the year. In Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain, Apple Pay is available or being made available through a partnership with American Express.

Apple Pay availability has grown steadily in the United States since its October 2014 debut, and the service is now accepted at more than two million retail locations across the country.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Top Rated Comments

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60 months ago

Exactly. WeChat and Alipay are quite innovative and widely used. The Technology behind Apple Pay is, believe it or not, already outdated and Apple Pay is unlikely to be accepted when other popular payment systems are already in place in China. I even found it inconvenient to use Apple Pay in America but that was eight months ago and might have improved. Anyway: WeChat is a great app. Apple should just copy the whole thing and make it the new messages app.

Wow, someone who has no clue : outdated? Are you for real.
At least find a reasonable argument like they have the widest user base or something like that.
The tech angle as an advantage is totally laughable.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
Alipay and TenPay is quite widespread... I think the MCX thing going on here was trying to emulate some of that success since it's a lot of QR codes and loading debit cards.

But I have to say what Apple has is trust. Chinese people trust Apple to make quality stuff. So that should help with adoptions.

BTW I was able to add my ICBC debit card:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

Wow, someone who has no clue : outdated? Are you for real.
At least find a reasonable argument like they have the widest user base or something like that.
The tech angle as an advantage is totally laughable.

Let me ask you a simple question: Have you used WeChat Pay or AliPay before? Do you live in China and have compared the convenience of using the local wireless payment systems compared to Apple Pay?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

Exactly. WeChat and Alipay are quite innovative and widely used. The Technology behind Apple Pay is, believe it or not, already outdated and Apple Pay is unlikely to be accepted when other popular payment systems are already in place in China. I even found it inconvenient to use Apple Pay in America but that was eight months ago and might have improved. Anyway: WeChat is a great app. Apple should just copy the whole thing and make it the new messages app.

I'm sorry but I don't agree. Apple pay is way safer, uses NFC, user friendly, you can use your watch.. it won't be too far when we will be able to use our Apple Watch for transit in Shanghai for subway, bus and taxies and finally trow away that obsolete transit card. I hate WeChat, is buggy, it uses bar codes for member cards.. this is way more obsolete if you ask me. Here people will love to use Apple Pay, you will see.
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Alipay and TenPay is quite widespread... I think the MCX thing going on here was trying to emulate some of that success since it's a lot of QR codes and loading debit cards.

But I have to say what Apple has is trust. Chinese people trust Apple to make quality stuff. So that should help with adoptions.

BTW I was able to add my ICBC debit card:

That is nice, I guess I will have to wait for my bank to jump on board...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

Question is, will people use Apple Pay over WeChat and Alipay?

Good question. The e-payment and micro payment solutions in China is light years ahead of US techs. Apple Pay lacks versatility of WeChat and Apple Pay, until Apple opens up its payment processing for all kind of merchandise then only it will see any growth.

When i say all kind of merchandise, i mean all kind. You could live in Beijing for a year and never bring your wallet out.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

That isn't possible. Apple Pay works on the same technology contactless credit cards would work on. If you shut off support for Apple Pay, that's the same thing as pulling support for NFC.

Ahh. I misunderstood the stories at the time. Looks like the media for whatever reasons used the term "Apple Pay" as a synonym for "all contactless payment methods"
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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