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Apple eyes Apple Pay expansion into Asia and Europe, looks to roll out in 'every significant market'

Addressing this week's Apple Pay expansion in Singapore, segment vice president Jennifer Bailey said Apple is "working rapidly" to deploy the payments platform in Asia and Europe on the way to launching in every major market the company's products are sold.

That Apple intends to expand Apple Pay beyond its existing coverage area is a foregone conclusion, but beyond that the company hasn't offered any clues as to a near-term rollout strategy. Bailey shared a few interesting tidbits regarding future expansion efforts in an interview with TechCrunch.

"We're working rapidly in Asia and also in Europe, our goal is to have Apple Pay in every significant market Apple is in," Bailey said.

Singapore is one such market, and on Tuesday Apple announced a five-bank expansion that makes Apple Pay available to more than 80 percent of all Visa and MasterCard cardholders in the country.

Bailey did not comment on Apple Pay's next launch country, but she did offer details on the factors the company will investigate to make that determination.

"First, we look at the size of the market for Apple products. We also look at credit and debit card penetration, and contactless payment coverage," Bailey said. "When we bring Apple Pay to market even when contactless is low it will grow — it was 4 percent in the U.S. but is now 20 percent. We also work with our network partners, where we can utilize integration with Amex and Visa, to go to market quickly."

Apple has gone the American Express route in a few countries, Singapore being a recent example. Australia and Canada also gained initial support through Amex, and CEO Tim Cook last October said Hong Kong and Spain are expected to do the same later this year.

As can be expected, Apple is in ongoing talks with partners and banks to further expand Apple Pay's reach, Bailey said.

After its domestic market debut in 2014, Apple Pay launched in the UK, Canada, Australia last year. Notably, Apple was able to bring its NFC-based touchless payments system to the massive Chinese market in February. Some three million cards were provisioned for Apple Pay in China over the course of just two days.

"From all indicators the launch [in China] has been really successful," Bailey said.