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Apple looks to Asia to drive growth for Apple Pay

Apple is set to expand adoption of its contactless payment service Apple Pay by launching it in new markets, of which Asia is set to play a major part.

According to Singapore-based news title Business Times, Apple is looking at Europe and Asia because US adoption has been slow. The regions earmarked for launch in 2016 include China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain.

Apple announced a partnership with Chinese bank card network UnionPay earlier this month, allowing the tech firm to introduce Apple Pay into the country for the first time. Apple has promised the service will be rolled out to customers in 2016 after the technology has been certified by Chinese regulators.

“Apple Pay has revolutionised the way millions of people pay every day with their iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services in an announcement.

“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,” he added.

While Apple has not yet announced any official figures around adoption, analysts have made estimates as to how successful the launch has been. An estimate in October suggested it was around 1 per cent of payments and could grow slower than expected.

Asia is likely to be a core market for Apple because many countries are mobile-first. Home-grown brands such as Samsung have traditionally prevailed in Asia but the launch of the iPhone 6 meant Apple started to see a steep rise in adoption at the start of the year.