Apple Inc’s Apple Pay mobile payment system will be available in China from February 18 for Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) customers, according to a social media announcement made by the Bank Representatives.
Earlier, Cupertino had said that it would be launching this system in China in early 2016, making it the fifth country where this system has launched. ICBC is China’s biggest lender by assets.
As of now, Apple spokesperson has declined to comment on this announcement, however, according to the website, 19 Chinese lenders as official Apple Pay partners, and state media reported two other lenders will also go live with the service on February 18.
Talking of markets, Greater China is the largest market for the tech giant, however, it still remains to be seen how they match the prowess for the mobile platform.
Apple Pay has received mixed reactions from all the markets that it has launched at, with the reaction in its home country being less than promising. However, in China, the main problem that the service will face is a bit different. It will have to compete with existing dominant and entrenched players, serving shoppers well used to paying for goods and services with their handsets.
According to a survey conducted by China Internet Network Information Center, China is the world’s largest smartphone market. By the end of 2015, 358 million people, more than the population of the United States, had already taken to paying by mobile phone.
The major players, in this segment, are social networking and gaming firm Tencent Holdings Ltd and e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, through its Internet finance affiliate Ant Financial Services Group.
Tencent is operating this service under WeChat Payment while Ant Financial runs Alipay.
China’s state radio reported on its website that China Guangfa Bank Co Ltd and China Construction Bank Corp announced of its plans to launch Apple Pay.