Mobile payment is starting to take full swing this year as people look on to digital wallets over traditional payment methods in the United States. Now, it seems that Apple is further expanding its reach as it strikes deals with China's state-run banks to bring its mobile payment system to the East. Furthermore, Cupertino wants to launch it before the Chinese New Year hits, just in time before China's spring holidays start.
According to reports, Apple back in September created a company in the Shanghai free-trade zone in order to operate its Apple Pay system in China. Today, reports say that Apple wants to launch its mobile payment system in the country by February, specifically before Feb. 8--the date of the Chinese New Year this year.
Reports say that Apple has struck deals with four of the largest banks in China that will support their mobile payment platform. The deal is under way just awaiting approval from the regulatory board, and Apple's Chief Executive Tim Cook is very bullish to bring Apple Pay in the country.
However, it's important to note that China's payment card market isn't exactly as easy to break into. Reports say that the country shut out both Visa and Mastercard until recently, but both were finally granted approval to seek licenses this year.
China's payment card market is mainly dominated by the likes of state-run transaction processor UniunPay. China's Alibaba and Tencent are also part of the equation. Apple hasn't disclosed how much profit it reaps from their mobile payment system, but reports suggest that it takes 0.15 percent cut of credit card transactions.
China is already a bigger market for Apple over Europe, and it looks like it's set to overtake the United States in size. This would mean that the potential for Apple Pay is huge. Currently, there are more than 300 million people who use Alipay, but it seems Apple is ready to take it head on.