Apple Pay goes to China with UnionPay partnership

iPhone maker says it has signed an agreement with state-owned credit card issuer, China UnionPay, to offer Apple Pay in the Chinese market

Apple has unveiled a new partnership with China UnionPay to offer its mobile payment service in the Chinese market.

The agreement would allow UnionPay cardholders to add their bank cards to Apple Pay on their various Apple devices, the US company said in a statement Friday.

China UnionPay is the only bank organisation authorised to issue cards for use in China and operates under the approval of the country's central bank, People's Bank of China.

Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services, said: "China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay, and support from 15 of China's leading banks, users will soon have a convenient, private, and secure payment experience."

According to Apple, its mobile payment service was slated to be available to UnionPay cardholders in early-2016, after Chinese regulators had completed the required tests and certification to ensure the service complied with local mobile payment and financial industry standards.

UnionPay has issued more than 5 billion cards locally and overseas.