In December, Apple announced that it had partnered with Shanghai-based banking company China UnionPay to launch Apple Pay in China “as soon as early 2016.” The mobile payment service had been rumored to finally arrive in the country ahead of the country’s Spring Festival holiday, also known as Chinese New Year, on Feb. 8. That date came and went, but still no official launch in China for Apple Pay.
Well, as it turns out, Apple Pay is set to be officially launched in China on Feb. 18 instead.
Apple Pay in China
At least that’s according to a customer service channel of China Guangfa Bank (CGB), which supports UnionPay cards.
As reported by Tech in Asia, through a menu option in its public WeChat account, CGB is informing its customers that Apple Pay will be officially available in China beginning Thursday, Feb. 18, at 5 a.m. local time and that the service will require iOS 9.2 or later on iPhone and iPad or watchOS 2.1 or later on Apple Watch.
Neither Apple nor UnionPay, though, has come out with a confirmation regarding the official launch date of Apple Pay in China. In any case, we’ll let you know if and when CGB’s Feb. 18 claim proves correct.
In its announcement in December, Apple said that it would roll out Apple Pay to China UnionPay cardholders “as soon as early 2016 after relevant tests and certification required by Chinese regulators, with the service itself in compliance with the applicable national mobile payment and financial industry standards in China.”
Apple Pay in France and Canada
In other Apple Pay news, Apple Pay is reportedly coming to France. According to the French site iGeneration, Apple could announce the launch of the service in the country in the first half of this year, probably at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S., where it was originally launched in October 2014, in the U.K., where it was launched last July, and in Australia and Canada, where it made its debut last November with American Express as its sole partner card company.
But Apple Pay could soon be available through Canadian banks as well.
As reported by iPhone in Canada, a “PaymentNetworkInterac” string has been discovered in the code of the current officially released version of iOS, iOS 9.2.1, pointing to the likelihood that Apple Pay would soon be supporting Interac. Based in Toronto, Interac is a network of more than 80 Canadian banks, including the founding members Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Scotiabank, Toronto-Dominion Bank, and Desjardins.