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Apple announces plan to launch Apple Pay in China

Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, demonstrates the new Apple Pay mobile payment system at a Whole Foods store in Cupertino, Calif.
Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, demonstrates the new Apple Pay mobile payment system at a Whole Foods store in Cupertino, Calif. AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

BEIJING – Apple Inc. and China’s state-owned credit card processor announced plans Friday to launch the smartphone-based Apple Pay electronic payment system in China.

Apple and China UnionPay said they plan to roll out the system in early 2016, pending approval by regulators. China’s biggest shopping season comes ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins Feb. 8.

READ MORE: Apple Pay lands in Canada — but only for American Express users

Apple Pay is a late arrival in a Chinese electronic payments market dominated by Alipay, an arm of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which accounts for about 80 per cent of transactions.

The system will allow UnionPay cardholders to make payments via Apple iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads. Apple and UnionPay said they have agreements with 15 Chinese banks to support the system.

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Apple declined to say how the company and UnionPay would divide the costs and revenues of their venture.

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