ICBC & local reports back Feb. 18 launch for Apple Pay in ChinaApple Pay will indeed be available in China on Feb. 18, according to state media, as well as social media posts from representatives at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
Two other parties will launch Apple Pay on the 18th along with ICBC, Reuters quoted state media as saying. These include China Guangfa Bank —the first to claim the Feb. 18 date, via WeChat —and China Construction Bank Corp. ICBC, though, is China's biggest lender in terms of assets.
To date Apple has only promised that Apple Pay would launch in China sometime in early 2016.
The service may face an uphill battle in the region. While the iPhone is a popular device there and Apple will have multiple launch partners, other mobile payment systems are already relatively entrenched, particularly Alipay and WeChat Payment.
One of the next destinations for Apple Pay is rumored to be France, although any such launch would be months away, and an announcement might have to wait for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June.