Apple has added UnionPay, China's biggest bankcard network, to its list of supported App Store payment methods.
Actually, when we say that UnionPay is China's biggest bankcard network, we're underselling it a little. It's China's ONLY bankcard network.
UnionPay is the only company in China to link all of the country's banks and ATMs, with government regulation ensuring a virtual monopoly on such things.
Now users in China can make app purchases using this popular payment method. Prior to its inclusion, Chinese Apple users primarily relied on a prepay top-up system for purchasing apps.
According to Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddie Cue, "The ability to buy apps and make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most requested features from our customers in China."
Interestingly, China already represented Apple's second biggest app market prior to the addition of UnionPay.
Now with 4.5 billion UnionPay cards (issued both in China and abroad in some 140 countries) offering quick and convenient access to the App Store, we wouldn't be surprised if it acquires the number one spot - particularly with an estimated 100 million iPhones in use in the country.
China is playing an increasingly important part in Apple's business. During the last quarter, some 16 percent of the company's total revenue came from the country.
Read More: What is Apple Pay?