SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Apple Inc is in talks with Chinese banks and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on launching the firm's mobile payments system in China, Chief Executive Tim Cook told the official Xinhua news agency in an interview published on Tuesday.
"We very much want to get Apple Pay in China," Cook told Xinhua during a visit to the country. "I'm very bullish on Apple Pay in China."
Apple could not immediately be reached to comment on the report.
Apple Pay, which allows consumers using Apple devices to buy goods by holding the device up to readers installed by store merchants, was launched in the United States last September and quickly began to handle more transactions than all other "contact less" payment methods combined, Apple said.
Cook said he believed it could take off even faster in China.
Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma said in October that the Chinese e-commerce giant was open to working with Apple on Apple Pay. Alibaba affiliate Alipay is China's largest payments service.
Analysts expect China to take over the Americas to become Apple's biggest market. In the first three months of the year, for the first time, Apple sold more iPhones in China than in the United States.
The firm hopes to keep adding stores in China, where it aims to have 40 by next year, from 22 currently, Cook told Xinhua.
Cook's China visit was to focus on Apple Pay's entry as well as environmental initiatives to protect forests, he added.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates)