Tim Cook has described his desire to bring Apple Pay to China as “top of the list” in terms of priorities.
Cook was quoted on Friday, following an interview he gave with China’s official Xinhua news agency. “China is a really key market for us,” he said. “Everything we do [in terms of services in the U.S.], we are going to work it here.”
Cook added that he was still seeking to understand the steps needed to launch Apple Pay.
Prior to the iPhone 6’s release, the handsets arrival in China were delayed due to a lack of regularity approval, which would also be needed to bring Apple’s mobile payment solution to the country.
Last month, the Chinese media reported that Apple was close to agreeing a deal with China’s Unionpay card network to bring Apple Pay to the world’s most populous country.
Apple’s mobile payment system launched in the U.S. on Monday this week. While at the moment it is technically limited to the United States, iPhone owners around the world have been able to use the service with NFC terminals so long as they have a U.S. credit card.
Cook’s interview with Xinhua also touched on his meeting with senior government official Vice Premier Ma Kai regarding privacy and security, following on from the “man-in-the-middle” attack on the iCloud service in China, thought to be the work of the Chinese government. The discussions were said to be “very open.”
Cook’s four-day trip to China has also seen him tour a Foxconn iPhone factory in central China, and attend a meeting of the advisory board of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.