Apple Pay's gradual rollout in China leaves many unable to register their bank cards

iPhone users in China reported not being able to sign up.

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Apple Pay in China may be too popular for its own good.

Shortly after Apple officially launched Apple Pay in China, many iPhone users in the country claimed they were unable to link their bank cards to the service. At first, it seemed the issue stemmed from too many people trying to sign up, but Apple is now claiming that it had planned for a gradual rollout.

In a statement sent to 9to5Mac, Apple says the ability to add cards to Apple Pay was available on a rolling basis throughout launch day. Mashable is reporting that 38 million Chinese bank cards were added to Apple Pay by 5 p.m. on launch day, and 10 million of those cards were linked within the first hour.

“We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay, told Reuters. Apple partnered with UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China, following earlier launches in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Canada. 

China’s English-language business website Caixin was first to report about the registration glitches. According to one source, his iPhone kept telling him that it could not connect to Apple Pay or that Apple Pay could not verify his bank card. Eventually, he was able to link his card to the service after about 30 minutes, but when he went back in to try to add a second card the service kept crashing.

Originally, an Apple representative said that the glitches were because of the high number of people trying to sign up, but a later official statement by Apple clarified that, for whatever reason, Apple Pay was intended to launch in China on a rolling basis.

Why this matters: Already 2 million businesses support Apple Pay worldwide, and China is certainly going to make that number a lot higher. That is, assuming iPhone users in China can get it to work.

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