Apple Inc. said customers in China can now use the country's most popular payment card for transactions on the App Store, as the iPhone maker seeks to woo users in the world's largest smartphone market.

App Store users in China can link their China UnionPay Co. debit or credit cards to their Apple ID accounts to make one-tap purchases, the company said in a statement. The App Store lets customers download programs to run on Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads.

UnionPay has a monopoly on bank-card clearing in China, and has issued more than 4.5 billion payment cards in China and abroad, according to the statement. Apple said the new payment option has been sought by customers in China, where the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus debuted last month to heavy demand. Cupertino, California-based Apple sold more than 10 million iPhones in their first weekend when they were rolled out in other countries in September.

"The ability to buy apps and make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most requested features from our customers in China," Eddy Cue, Apple's head of Internet services, said in the statement. China is already Apple's second-largest market for app downloads, he said.

Last month, China's government indicated that UnionPay's monopoly on bank clearing was set to end, but didn't provide a timeline for the change.

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