Apple Pay soon to enter China's grounds by February

By Money Times

Nov 24, 2015 09:24 PM EST

Apple Pay is stealing consumer's loyalty in multiple countries. After the introduction of rival services Samsung Pay and Google's Android Pay, Apple Pay also considers the need to expand itself, especially to China which represents as significant business opportunity for mobile-payments systems.

According to Venture Beat, rumors of Apple launching its mobile payments service, Apple Pay, in China as early as February has come forward by many reports. The news was first scribbled by Dow sources cited in a tweet by CNBC and after that The Wall Street Journal followed with its own reports.

While the initial tweet did not mention further details, the WSJ says that Apple "has struck deals recently with China's big four state-run banks... [that] will allow potential Apple Pay users to link the service with their local bank accounts."

However, Apple Pay is anticipated to face many barriers in its struggle. Currently, Tencent's Tenpay (used on popular messaging app WeChat) and ecommerce giant Alibaba's Alipay are seen dominating the mobile payments services in China.

China represents a sector that generates major portion of Apple's revenue with each passing quarter, as mentioned by Apple Insider. So in order to step on China's grounds, Apple Pay has yet to gain favor with Chinese banks and, more importantly, the state-owned credit and debit card processor UnionPay. Without a deal with UnionPay, Apple's card-based product is of no use.

Apple Pay was about to hit its goal but the discussion was closed down at the end, according to the reports of 2014. The news came into hearing that UnionPay was hesitating to agree to Apple's usage rates, which were considered high in China as compared to those in the U.S., the UK and other Apple Pay markets.

Still, in May Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was "very bullish" on Apple Pay's chances to step in China.  The country presents itself as a good option because of its growing middle class and high saturation of Smartphone owners. Cook demonstrated China's potential as a major growth motivator during his company's most recent quarterly earnings conference call. 

As reported by CNet, Apple Pay was launched in US and other countries last year. It enabled iPhone 6 and later iPhones and Apple Watch owners to pay for items on the go via the wireless technology NFC. An increasing number of US banks and retailers have been using the payment service, which has support from all four major US credit cards. Company is willing to expand its mobile payments service to add additional facility to build consumer loyalty.

According to report by MarketWatch, Apple has also been trying to convince at least eight major Chinese banks about adopting Apple Pay since last year but no positive conclusion was made. In fact one bank, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China clearly showed no interest in a deal. The major problem was the transaction fee, as in US, 15 cents are cut from each $100 Apple Pay transaction and Banks in China disagrees to this amount.

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