Apple and China UnionPay have announced a partnership to officially bring Apple Pay to China by early 2016, underscoring the latest battle for customers in the world's second-largest economy.
The partnership will allow China UnionPay cardholders to add their bank cards to Apple Pay on the iPhone, the Apple Watch and the iPad. China UnionPay has issued a total of 5 million cards in China and abroad. These cards can be used at more than 26 million merchants and 1.9 million ATMs.
The mobile payment system is still undergoing regulatory tests by Chinese authorities, to verify that it is in compliance with the "applicable national mobile payment and financial industry standards in China," Apple said in a statement.
Apple Pay has reportedly seen double-digit growth in U.S. transactions each month, and was launched in the U.K. in the summer with over 250,000 locations accepting the payment system and major banks.