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Apple and Samsung team up with UnionPay to target Chinese market

Apple and Samsung have both announced deals with Chinese bank card network UnionPay. 22 Dec 2015

Apple and UnionPay have agreed a partnership to bring Apple Pay, which allows payments from Apple products using near-field communication technology, to the Chinese market in early 2016 after "tests and certification" by Chinese regulators.

The China UnionPay bank card network operates China's national inter-bank clearing and settlement system. Over five billion cards have been issued by the network, which reaches all cities and rural areas in China, the companies said.

Samsung, meanwhile, announced similar cooperation with UnionPay on its Samsung Pay service, dependent on tests and certification.

Chai Hongfeng, executive vice president of China UnionPay said: "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. We are very excited to offer Apple Pay among a diverse set of innovative payment options that work with China UnionPay QuickPass."

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services said: "China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks, users will soon have a convenient, private and secure payment experience."

The services will compete with Alipay, a payment service similar to Paypal that is run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. 

In May, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that launching Apple Pay was "top of the list" of the companies ambitions for China.

China announced in April that it would open the market for clearing domestic bank card transactions to allow competition from foreign companies including Visa and MasterCard. Previously only UnionPay was allowed to provide clearing service for RMB-denominated bank card payments.