Mobile payments platform will go live with three Chinese banks on February 18
Apple Pay is set for a major expansion after the news that the service will launch in China later this week.
The news was confirmed by workers at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of the country’s biggest banks, making China the fifth country to see the release of Apple Pay when it goes live on February 18.
Reuters noted that Apple’s Chinese website lists 19 lenders in the country as official partners for Apple Pay, with state media reporting that two other lenders will also be providing the service upon launch.
One of these could well be UnionPay, which signed a deal with the iPhone maker back in December to allow its cardholders to add their accounts to Apple Pay across iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.
However China’s state radio apparently reported on its website that the providers would be China Guangfa Bank and China Construction Bank, which reportedly confirmed on social media that they would also launch Apple Pay on February 18.
Having initially been hostile to the company’s products, Apple finally signed a deal to sell iPhones in China in December 2013, five years after the first device went on sale in the West, with the country now making up its biggest global market, although recent saturation has raised doubts over this.
Since its launch in July, over 250,000 stores in the UK have pledged their support for Apple Pay, with nearly all the country’s major banks now also making their services available.
A recent study by analyst firm Juniper Research has estimated that that the number of annual purchases made via mobiles, tablets, desktops and other connected devices should reach 125 billion annually by 2018 – 60 percent more than the total number of transactions in 2015, as more and more consumers look for greater flexibility.
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