Apple is a step closer to bringing Apple Pay to China thanks to a deal with China UnionPay. Apple announced a deal over the weekend where customers can use the system to link a credit or debit card to their Apple ID for one-tap App Store purchases, which could eventually lead to using their iPhones in retail stores, too.
Apple swings App Store credit card purchase deal with China's UnionPay
Prior to the UnionPay deal, China's iTunes Store customers were forced to set up pre-paid accounts linked directly to bank accounts — a process that was inconvenient and didn't quick purchases easy.
Apple's customers in China have been asking for UnionPay support for some time. The company's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said,
The ability to buy apps and make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most requested features from our customers in China. China is already our second largest market for app downloads, and now we’re providing users with an incredibly convenient way to purchase their favorite apps with just one-tap.
China UnionPay has issued over 4.5 billion cards in more than 140 countries, and the company's network is available throughout all of China urban and rural areas.
Now that China's iPhone users have a way to link a credit or debit card to their Apple ID, the next step will be to enable Apple Pay. Apple isn't saying when that might happen, but it's a safe bet that's exactly what the company wants to see happen next.