Apple has reportedly reached an agreement with China Unionpay to jointly launch mobile payments in China.
Unionpay is a state-owned bankcard association that has been approved by the central bank to provide clearing services for bankcard transactions. Because of its near monopoly, it issues almost all bankcards in the country.
It has partnerships with the country’s major banks, some of which Unionpay reportedly has invited to develop an iOS-compatible point-of-sale system.
China has more than 3.6 million ‘flash pay’ terminals and 1.2 billion mobile connections.
With Apple yet to announce when the NFC-enabled iPhone 6 models will be launched in the mainland, there is no word on when Apple Pay would be available in China. Apple Pay is currently only offered in the US.
Great Wisdom news agency quoted a Unionpay official as saying the company “is committed to establishing an open, cooperative and win-win mobile payment service system with all the industry’s value-chain parties, including the world’s top mobile phone manufacturers.
“This includes extensive cooperation to provide the basic platform and integrated service solutions to support differentiation in mobile payment services, and jointly promote the development of the mobile payment industry.”
The company’s biggest rival is Alipay, the third-party payment unit of Alibaba Group, which has been forced to route its services through the Unionpay system since 2012.
Unionpay has said that Alipay purse, its mobile micro-payment service, “has long been the lifeblood of Unionpay”.
Alipay continues to lead in mobile payment transactions by a huge margin, with an 80 per cent share.