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Apple Pay Targets China As Its Biggest Market

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(Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images) This picture taken on February 18, 2016 shows a display explaining that purchases can be made using Apple Pay, as well as other formats, at an Apple store in Shanghai, China. Apple on February 18 launched its mobile payments service Apple Pay in China, pitting the US technology giant against strong domestic players in an already crowded field.CHINA-US-ECONOMY-ONLINE-APPLE
February 18
7:47 AM 2016

Apple Inc. has just released in China its mobile payment system on Thursday.  The tech company wants to persuade Apple smartphone users to switch and use  the service. On the same day, customers can start using Apple Pay where Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country's biggest lender,  would be among the banks that will implement the Apple Pay service.

So far, China would be the fifth country to receive the service but it's not that easy for Apple Pay.  Even in the U.S. where its home market lies, Apple Pay has difficulty convincing doubtful retailers in its exertion to create a new revenue stream.

"We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market," Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, told Reuters in an interview in Beijing.

Apple is slowly but surely targeting to make Apple Pay to be the best mobile payment service globally. They made the payment system available to China as their cutting edge for expansion.  Although ICBC  mentioned that the launch of the payment system started this Thursday, there are also other banks that support the service.  Aside from ICBC, China Construction and China Guangfa Bank also plan to support the service along with 16 other more as stated by the Chinese state radio station.  With Apple's partnership with UnionPay, Apple Pay got the assistance of more than 80% of China's debit and credit cards, Macworld reported.

Apple needs to be tough enough to rival the other two payment systems that dominate the market - WeChat Payment of Tencent Holdings and Alipay of Alibaba Group.  Ant Financial claimed that Alipay has more than 400 million active users, which are 80% on mobile.  A large percentage of China's credit and debit cards are suitable for Apple Pay since Apple has partnered with 19 of China's biggest lenders, according to banking technology.

"People switch applications for significantly better experiences, it (Apple) has to deliver not just a little bit more secure, or a little bit easier to use," said Mark Natkin, founder of Marbridge Consulting.

When it comes to revenue, Greater China is considered as Apple's second-largest market aside from being the world's biggest smartphone market.  Based on the report of the China Internet Network Information Center, 358 million people have bought  goods and services using their mobile devices by the end of 2015.

With hundreds of millions of Apple smartphone users, Apple Pay is hoping to have a good share in the mobile payment system market pie.  Apple Pay is optimistic that China will be its largest market.

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