Apple has reportedly run into a few roadblocks in its efforts to bring Apple Pay to China. The company has been in negotiations to bring the payment system over, but they are apparently facing delays due to resistance from regulators and UnionPay, China's credit and debit card system operator.
For Chinese regulators, there are questions as to whether Apple Pay meets government standards for operation in the country, while talks with UnionPay that would open the operator's system to Apple Pay appear to be on hold.
Apple is also struggling with its relationship with UnionPay, China's state-owned credit- and debit-card system operator. Sources close to the companies said that talks aimed at an agreement that would open China to Apple Pay have stalled.
At least one of the issues that seems to be holding up Apple Pay's entry into China is technical. The chips behind the system are evidently not fully compatible with UnionPay NFC hardware requirements:
To qualify for access to any NFC system in China, according to regulators with the central bank, Apple Pay must comply with a central bank rule that restricts electronic payment systems to those using chips that meet a technical standard called PBOC 3.0. A source familiar with Apple Pay said iPhone chips that drive the payment system do not fully comply with this standard.
Additionally, the Chinese government has apparently demanded that Apple maintain a data center on mainland China for all Chinese Apple Pay customer information.
Assuming the company can clear the regulatory hurdles, there's no telling when Apple Pay might launch in China, though Apple was reportedly aiming for some point in March.