Apple will launch Apple Pay in China in February next year, expanding its mobile payments system into what is fast becoming the company’s most lucrative market.
That’s according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, which cites people "familiar with [Apple’s] discussions" with Chinese authorities. Apple is said to have struck deals with four major Chinese banks ahead of the mooted launch date next year.
Apple Pay enables iPhone users to pay for low-ticket goods and services, as well as their travel on public transport, by swiping their phone over a reader.
Apple set up a company in Shanghai’s free trade zone in September, sparking speculation that it would be bringing Apple Pay to China imminently.
Word is that Apple will launch the service to coincide with Chinese New Year on February 8th. This would garner a huge amount of press coverage and allow the service to be used when most Chinese are travelling and spending across the country.
Apple Pay would face competition from Alibaba’s Alipay in China. However, with iPhone sales booming, it seems likely it would have a good chance in becoming the country’s dominant mobile payments provider.
Apple’s revenue from sales in China grew by 99% in the last quarter, with the company launching the latest iPhones on the same date as the US and Europe.