Apple Inc. will debut its electronic-payment system Apple Pay in mainland China on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter, its first such attempt to break into the Asian payment market.
The Cupertino, Calif., tech giant struck a deal with UnionPay, which holds a monopoly on bank-card payments in China, as well as with 19 Chinese banks.
Apple AAPL, +2.82% launched Apple Pay in the U.S. in 2014 and has expanded the service to the U.K., Australia and Canada.
Apple Pay allows users to pay for their purchases with its signature devices — iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches — which they can tap against scanners advertising Apple Pay or UnionPay’s QuickPass, a chip-based contactless payment service.
With its launch of Apple Pay in mainland China, Apple will be entering a market where electronic payments are already widely used. More than 358 million Chinese conduct their payment online via mobile devices, according to 2015 figures from the official China Internet Network Information Center, which said more than 416 million Chinese made payments online.