Apple Scales The Great Wall With China UnionPay Partnership For Apple Pay

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Earlier today, Apple made some big moves in its executive ranks with a wave of promotions and new hire. But tonight, Apple announced what could possibly be its most important business deal so far this year, and one that could be extremely lucrative for the electronics company that is deriving a large portion of its revenue from the Chinese market.

Apple has reached an agreement with China UnionPay, which will allow cardholders to add their bank cards to Apple Pay. What makes this such a blockbuster deal is that China UnionPay currently operates nation's inter-bank clearing and settlement system and has issued over 5 billion cards both domestically and abroad. UnionPay cards are accepted at 26 million retailers and can be used at nearly 2 million ATMs. Couple that vast network with the fact that iPhone sales were up 99 percent year-over-year during fiscal Q4, Apple is sitting on a gold mine with this deal.

Apple Pay will work in conjunction with UnionPay QuickPass point-of-sale (POS) terminals, which communicate wirelessly with the NFC chip within supported iPhones, iPads and Apple Watch wearables. “China UnionPay is dedicated to promoting payment innovations and providing secure, convenient mobile payment experiences for its hundreds of millions of cardholders, aligning multiple parties in the industry,” said China UnionPay Executive VP Chai Hongfeng. “We’re very excited to offer Apple Pay among a diverse set of innovative payment options that work with China UnionPay QuickPass.”

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“China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks,” added Apple’s Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services. “Users will soon have a convenient, private and secure payment experience.”

Barring any snags with the certification process or Chinese regulators, Apple Pay will launch for China UnionPay cardholders in the opening months of 2016. China will become the fifth major country to accept Apple Pay following the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.