Apple Pay Launches in China for UnionPay Credit and Debit Cards

Speculation from earlier this week that Apple Pay was set to launch in China has materialized. An event was held at an Apple Store in Beijing (Thursday morning local time) for reporters to officially launch Apple Pay.

Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, was on hand to speak to the press (with a separate announcement made on Apple’s Developer News page).

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Bailey told Reuters in an interview “We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market.” She went on to explain Apple Pay’s goal is not to compete with banks and UnionPay.

“China UnionPay and our Apple Pay solution has a huge advantage, given the footprint of China UnionPay,” she said. “Its merchant acceptance network far exceeds what any of the other mobile platforms have today.”

The following banks are now supporting Apple Pay in China for UnionPay credit card and debit cardholders:

  • Agricultural Bank of China
  • Bank of China
  • Bank of Shanghai
  • China CITIC Bank
  • China Construction Bank
  • CGB
  • China Merchants Bank
  • China Minsheng Bank
  • ICBC
  • Industrial Bank Co. Ltd.
  • Postal Savings Bank of China
  • SPD Bank

As for other banks coming soon:

  • Bank of Beijing
  • Bank of Communications
  • Bank of Guangzhou
  • Bank of Ningbo
  • China Everbright Bank
  • Huaxia Bank
  • Pingan Bank

Recent rumours have suggested Apple Pay may finally gain Canadian bank support, after CIBC Terms of Service appeared for some users, plus iOS 9.2.1 code revealed a string titled “NetworkInterac”. Currently, only cards issued by American Express support Apple Pay in Canada.

Launching Apple Pay in China is huge. The ability for Apple to get these banks on board, with more to follow, is just one more step is getting Apple Pay mainstream.