Beijing: Tech giant Apple today announced a major partnership with China’s state-owned credit card processor China UnionPay to launch its digital wallet in the Communist country, pitting it against local e-commerce company Alibaba Group. China UnionPay cardholders will be able to easily add their bank cards to Apple Pay on iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad, providing added convenience and security for daily shopping, a joint-statement from the companies said.

“China UnionPay is dedicated to promoting payment innovations and providing secure, convenient payment experiences for its hundreds of millions of cardholders, aligning multiple parties in the industry,” Chai Hongfeng, executive vice president of China UnionPay said.

China is Apple’s second largest market in the world after the United States. “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,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Apple Pay is a late arrival in Chinese electronic payments market heavily dominated by Alipay, an arm of Alibaba Group, which accounts for about 80 per cent of transactions. The number of the UnionPay Card issued both at home and abroad has exceeded five billion, covering Chinese cities and rural areas as well as more than 150 counties and regions.

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