China UnionPay, the country’s only payment card provider, is working on an Android payment app to join the Apple Pay implementation that UnionPay is expected to launch in early 2015, Reuters reported on Tuesday (Nov. 25).
The Android app, which is still under development, is expected to launch in Q3 of 2015, according to Chinese media sources. Reports said the move was to compete with fast-growing third-party-payment processors like Alibaba’s Alipay, the dominant mobile-payment platform in China.
UnionPay reportedly made the decision last week to launch what’s being called “Android Pay” after opening negotiations with smartphone makers Coolpad and Lenovo about supporting the app on their phones. Coolpad vice president Cao Jingsheng said that at least one of his company’s high-end phones would support an Android payment app next year.
Wang Yanhui, secretary-general of industry group Mobile Phone China Alliance, was also quoted as saying that Apple Pay may start service in China in March 2015.
Neither Apple not UnionPay has announced Apple Pay for China. But the two companies cut a deal this month by which UnionPay will make it easier for Apple apps to be purchased in China, while Apple will let Chinese consumers pay with UnionPay for one-tap purchases. That’s expected to be a prelude to a full Apple Pay implementation, if Apple can strike agreements with retailers and overcome technical and regulatory hurdles.