Come next year, Apple intends to bring Apple Pay to China, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. Apple has inked deals with China’s four largest state-owned banks, and the company’s goal is to allow Chinese citizens to hook up Apple Pay with their existing bank accounts by February. Though Apple may still be subject to regulatory issues, its entry into the Chinese market could open up its mobile payments product to millions of potential new customers.
Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia; China would be its largest foreign expansion. The WSJ notes, however, that the question of how much Apple Pay will charge for transactions in China “has been a sticking point.” (Apple Pay allegedly gets a 0.15% cut of credit card purchases and 0.5 cents for each debit transaction in the U.S.)
But that isn’t the only hurdle Apple faces in its Chinese dealings. The mobile payments sector in China is dominated by robust homegrown services operated by tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent. Alipay, for example, currently has a hold on about 45% of the market, while Tenpay has almost 19%, the WSJ reports. Apple will have to prove to Chinese consumers that its service, which works exclusively on Apple devices, has a leg up on the local offerings. One reason Apple may have a fighting chance: As of this year, the company is finally selling more smartphones in China than its greatest competitor, Xiaomi.
[via Wall Street Journal]