Apple Pay expected to arrive this week

Updated: 2016-02-17 07:33

By Gao Yuan(China Daily)

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Apple Pay expected to arrive this week

Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Service, introduces Apple Pay during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California, Sept 9, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Stocks of mobile payment related companies soared on Tuesday over speculation that Apple Inc will introduce its cash-free smartphone payment service to China this week.

Apple Pay, a new way of making purchases in retail stores that was developed by the United States smartphone maker, will boost the mobile payment business as local players like Xiaomi Corp and Alibaba Group Holding also roll out similar services.

The supposed launch date was leaked by the social media account of Guangzhou-based China Guangfa Bank on Tuesday. The bank said in a post on instant messaging app WeChat that Apple Pay will be available in the country by 5 am on Thursday. The message was later deleted.

Apple said in December that it will launch the wireless payment business in China-its biggest overseas market-partnering with the nation's No 1 bank card association, China UnionPay.

China UnionPay said it will announce the launch time with Apple later; Apple did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Fueled by the looming Apple Pay entry, shares of 30 Chinese companies that provide mobile payment technologies surged by an average of 6.69 percent on Tuesday, according to data from market tracker Royal-Flush Information.

Eastcom peace Technology Co, a Guangdong-based maker of mobile payment terminals, and Nantian Electronic Information, a payment platform developer, led the advance. Both companies hit the 10 percent increase ceiling early in the trading day.

Datang Telecom Technology Co, a mobile communications hardware maker, also saw its stocks jump by 6.11 percent from the day before.

Li Chao, a Beijing-based analyst from iResearch Consulting Group, said Apple Pay will help open up the Chinese smartphone payment market, where e-commerce giant Alibaba now controls the lion's share.

"It will be difficult for Apple Pay to challenge Alibaba's payment services in the short run, but the availability of Apple Pay will certainly attract more people paying at the counters with smartphones instead of reaching for their wallet," Li said.

Wu Yiyao in Shanghai contributed to this story.