As seasoned Apple-watchers will attest, its love of all things Chinese is nothing new.
The company has been controversially making and assembling its iPhones there ever since the device’s inception in 2007.
And increasingly it has come to see the country as its most important market.
That’s no surprise. Demand for Apple products from China’s emerging middle class is relentless.
Apple saw its revenues there grow by 99% year–on–year when it reported its last quarterly results.
When the company revealed its record breaking opening weekend sales for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, analysts put it down largely to the fact that Apple chose to launch the devices in China at that time.
In the past, Chinese customers have had to wait upwards of a month after US and European users have got their hands on the shiny new kit.
Now though, Apple is making perhaps its biggest play for Chinese consumers.
Recent reports claim that its Apple Pay service is being lined up for launch in China next February, specifically on February 8th, Chinese New Year. Four banks are said to have signed on to help with the launch.
The timing is hugely significant. It’s a time when millions of Chinese travel across the country to be with family, spending accordingly.
It’ll get plenty of attention and come as sales of the latest iPhones have begun to settle down. More users will have compatible iPhones and the hope will be that Apple can convince them to pay securely with their handsets.
What’s more, Chinese online retailer Alibaba has already launched its own Alipay service, so consumers know all about paying with their smartphones. It’s the classic Apple tactic of sweeping in late and taking all the glory.
Tim Cook is said to be ‘bullish’ about Apple Pay’s chances in China. That’s no shock. It’s had big take up in the States and here in the UK, despite Apple’s growth being modest compared to China.
There are millions of new consumers to tap into in China, more so than anywhere else for Apple.
Apple’s days of making money from the US and Europe are far from over. But Cook and co know they need to look elsewhere if they want to keep up their run of record breaking results.
Launching Apple Pay will cement Cupertino’s status, switching attention from concerns about censorship (as seen recently with Apple News’s Chinese blackout) to stories about commercial success.