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Apple is one step closer in its plans to take Apple Pay into the company’s second-largest market, China. The WSJ reports that Apple has created a company in the Shanghai free-trade zone specifically to operate its Apple Pay business in the country, and seeded it with $13.4M of capital.

The Apple Inc. entity, named Apple Technology Service (Shanghai) Ltd., was registered in the city’s free-trade zone on June 10, according to the Shanghai government’s company-registration database. Its business operations include technical consulting, services and system integration in the field of payments, the database showed.

With China already a bigger market for Apple than Europe, and looking set to overtake the USA in size, the potential for Apple Pay in the country is huge. Mobile payment is already widely accepted in China, with more than 300 million people using Alipay, the mobile wallet service created by ecommerce giant Alibaba … 

Apple still needs regulatory approval to launch in the country, and it has been suggested that a partnership with Alibaba could facilitate a faster rollout. Tim Cook confirmed late last year that he had been in talks with the company. Cook said that he “very much” wants to get Apple Pay into China and is “very bullish” on its prospects there.

Apple Pay meanwhile continues its rapid expansion at home, with 40 more banks and credit unions added just a few days ago. The UK also saw Halifax and Lloyds signing-up, bringing the total number of UK banks to 11.

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