According to new reports, Apple plans to launch Apple Pay in China this week, with more countries to follow.
In social media posts on Tuesday, representatives from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Guangfa Bank (IGC), and China Construction Bank (CCB) cited Thursday, February 18 as the launch date for Apple's mobile payments system. Prior to these posts, Apple Pay was slated for a vague "early 2016" launch. On Apple's own website, the service is listed as "coming soon" but the company has not confirmed that the launch will happen this week. The Chinese version of the Apple Pay website does list a number of bank partners including ICBC, CGB, and CCB which somewhat validates these banks' statements on the upcoming launch. Apple is also partnering with UnionPay in China for the launch.
While Apple has yet to confirm the Chinese launch of Apple Pay, the service is also rumored to be expanding to Canada and France in the coming months. Citing anonymous sources, French news site iGen reported that Apple may announce the service's launch in France at WWDC 2016 in June, but noted that this launch would depend on how talks go with local banks. Other reports suggest Apple may announce the French launch as early as next month. Meanwhile, PassKit source code in iOS 9.2.1 references "NetworkInterac" which suggests an upcoming Canadian launch. Currently, Apple Pay in Canada only supports cards issued by American Express but Interac support would mean support for most major Canadian banks as well as support for Visa and MasterCard. Apple has not commented on these reports at this time.
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