According to a new report, Apple is in talks with the country's four largest banks to launch Apple Pay in China in February.
Apple is eyeing China as the next international market for its mobile payments technology, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple has already inked deals with China’s four largest state-run banks, including Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China, says the report, which would allow iPhone, iWatch, and iPad users to connect the payments service to their bank accounts.
Introduced in 2014, Apple Pay AAPL lets users upload credit and debit card information to a “mobile wallet.” Customers can then use their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay at retail stores in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia that have point-of-sale registers equipped with near field communication technology, known as NFC. People can also use their Apple Pay accounts to pay for items within apps if the app developer has integrated the service.
Apple recently inked deals with financial services giant to expand the service into Canada, Australia, Spain, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
However, China is increasingly an important market for Apple. The company’s fourth quarter in China doubled to $12.5 billion, and CEO Tim Cook recently said that China will eventually be Apple’s top market in the world.
In terms of payments, China is a competitive battleground. Alipay, which is a mobile wallet operated by Alibaba BABA spinoff-Ant Financial, has over 350 million users in China. Tencent also offers a mobile wallet called Tenpay. According to research firm Analysys, Alipay’s share of the mobile payments market was around 45%, with Tenpay commanding nearly 19%. Apple could be considering partnering with Ant Financial or Tencent.
Apple declined to comment to Fortune on the report.
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