Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has confirmed earlier reports that Apple Pay would launch in China this week, social media posts stating that its service will go live on Thursday 18 February. A further 18 lenders are signed up to the service, Reuters reporting that two of them – China Guangfa Bank Co and China Construction Bank Corp – will launch on the same day as ICBC.
Apple has been working on bringing its mobile payment service to China for some time, creating a Shanghai-based company to manage the rollout back in September of last year, with this month long rumored to be the target launch date. China will be the fifth country to go live, after the USA, UK, Canada and Australia.
As Reuters notes, however, Apple may face something of an uphill battle in signing up users in China …
Unlike the U.S., China already has well-established mobile payment services, giving people less reason to adopt Apple’s version.
In China, Apple Pay’s issue will be how to compete with dominant and entrenched players, serving shoppers well used to paying for goods and services with their handsets […]
Dominating those payments are China’s two biggest Internet companies: social networking and gaming firm Tencent Holdings and e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding[…] Tencent operates WeChat Payment, while Ant Financial runs Alipay.
Apple has also been busy with its Chinese retail store roll-out, last month increasing the total number of Apple Stores in the country to 33.