According to reports by Reuters, Apple Inc said it will launch its payment service in China as early as 2016, pitting it against entrenched Chinese rivals Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N) and Tencent Holdings.
Apple will partner with China’s main bank card and payment firm UnionPay, a state-controlled consortium that has a monopoly on all yuan payment cards issued and used in the country.
The move will see Apple Pay take on Tencent’s WeChat Payment and Alipay.
Online transactions are booming in China, boosted by the proliferation of hundreds of millions of smartphones that are being used for everything from paying for taxis and meals to buying goods at High Street stores.
In July, China proposed regulations to shake up the online payment services sector, where companies which own payment systems can reap huge profits by charging transaction fees.
UnionPay said in a statement on Friday it also planned to tie up with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s payment system, Samsung Pay, which was launched earlier this year.
Since the launch of Apple Pay in Australia, Apple has not been able to gather momentum with the Australian banks. It will be interesting to see how this experience differs in the China market as we move to 2016.