Apple Pay Seeking February Launch in China; Wirecard Debuts New NFC Wallet (Nov. 24, 2015)
Apple Pay’s long-awaited arrival in China could be just months away. The mobile payments service is slated to launch in the country by early February 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing sources close to the negotiations, the report said Apple has reached deals with China’s four major state-run banks. However, the expansion is not a done deal, with approval still needed by several government agencies that regulate the country’s banking and e-commerce industries.
Apple over the past year has been laying the groundwork for bringing Apple Pay to China, where the company’s iPhones are selling fast; the first quarter of 2015 marked the first quarter in which more iPhones were sold in China than in the U.S. In May, Apple announced it was in talks with Chinese online retail giant Alibaba Group about supporting Apple Pay in the country. The company also is planning to add 18 Apple Stores to the 22 already open in China by 2016, and registered a Chinese subsidiary in Shanghai’s free-trade zone in September.
In other mobile payments news, Germany’s Wirecard has launched a new Android-based NFC mobile wallet in four countries. Known as “boon,” the payment app is available via the Google Play Store in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium, with additional countries to follow. Any user of an NFC-capable smartphone with the Android 4.4 operating system or above now will be able to use boon. The platform uses a Wirecard-issued prepaid MasterCard, which can be linked to the mobile app to fund purchases. Starting next year, boon will add features including loyalty and P2P transfer, according to Wirecard, which was a 2015 Paybefore Awards Europe winner in the Change Agent of the Year category.