Apple is looking to expand Apple Pay into China by February 8, 2016, before the Spring Festival holiday, reports the Wall Street Journal. After launching its mobile payment platform in Canada and Australia last week, Apple is focusing on its next target market and has already inked deals with China’s big four state-run banks, the WSJ’s sources said.
Still, Apple Pay is subject to regulatory hurdles in the country, where banking and e-commerce are overseen by a number of government agencies, the sources say.
Success for Apple Pay in China could boost the fledgling system, launched last year and currently available in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has been in close contact with Chinese government agencies and has said publicly that he would like to bring Apple Pay to China as soon as possible.
Apple is targeting a market where AliPay and TenPay dominate the electronic payments market. State-owned UnionPay holds a monopoly on processing credit card and debit-card payments, while AliPay (an Alibaba affiliate) accounts for 45% of the mobile payments market, followed by TenPay, which grabbed almost 19% of electronic payments, according to research firm Analysys.
The Wall Street Journal report comes almost a year after similar reports had first surfaced. Back in December 2014 BrightWire first reported that Apple was in talks with eight banks, and that the company had completed testing the banks’ support for Apple Pay.