Apple Targets February for China Apple Pay Launch

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Apple Pay, meet China. China, meet Apple Pay. Apple's mobile payment system is coming to China in February 2016 with the backing of the country's four big banks—or so say insider sources.

Apple Pay could launch in China this FebruaryApple Pay could launch in China this February

The banks lined up for the Apple Pay launch include Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China. According to the Wall Street Journal's sources, Apple is looking to get Apple Pay up and running in China before February 8th's beginning of the Spring Festival holiday.

With banks lined up, now Apple needs to work its way through China's bureaucratic system and regulatory approvals. That could delay the launch, although there currently aren't any signs that will happen.

Apple Pay is Apple's mobile payment platform that lets shoppers use their credit cards at retailers without needing to swipe their cards. The system uses standard NFC chips and receivers—common in many credit card terminals—to securely process transactions without handing off customer's card numbers. Instead, it relies on one-time tokens that keep user's identities and card numbers secure.

Apple Pay requires an iPhone 6 or newer, or an Apple Watch.

So far, the banks and Apple have not commented on the report, but some developers have reported finding UnionPay's logo in recent iOS 9 betas. That's not solid confirmation Apple Pay is coming to China soon, but it does help back up the WSJ's sources.

Apple Pay has been gaining traction, but hasn't been adopted by consumers as quickly as some analysts would like. Bringing Apple Pay to China could be a big boost for the mobile payment system since the country already has more mobile phone users than the United States has citizens.

The iPhone has proven popular in the country, and Apple CEO Tim Cook says China will be the company's largest market. That adds up to a potentially big increase in Apple Pay users, and more backing for the mobile payment platform.

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Apple Pay may be popular, but the current user base is nothing compared to the potential China brings to the platform. Once launched, Apple Pay use in China could dwarf usage everywhere else in the world.

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