Apple has big expectations regarding their Chinese expansion. However, the company has seen those expectations tampered already. The technology giant refuses to grant access to their iPhone’s NFC function. This also means no one can use Apple Pay as a payment service for public transportation in Beijing. As a result, Yikatong launched its contract payment solution to rival the US-based technology giant in this region.

China is an important region for Apple and other companies providing payment services. However, using NFC-capable payments in the country is not straightforward. More specifically, Apple’s iPhone models have an NFC function for contactless payments. For some reason, the technology giant refuses to let third parties access this function without their approval. That means using the company’s payment solution for public transportation is impossible. In fact, a new payment app had to be launched for public transportation in Beijing.

Apple Pay Isn’t Popular in China

Yikatong is the public transport payments company in Beijing. Their new contactless payment solution allows millions of travelers to pay for fares. For now, the solution is only available to Android users, though. iOS users, on the other hand, will have to look for other solutions. It is doubtful Apple Pay will make any significant impact in this region moving forward. After all, the company won’t change its stance regarding accessing the NFC chip. After all, doing so in Beijing means they need to do the same for other regions.

It is evident the technology giant faces an uphill battle. Gaining entry into the Chinese market will be quite challenging, to say the least. Entering the mobile payments industry in this particular country is difficult for any non-Chinese country. Despite launching Apple Pay in early 2016, the app is still not in the top 10 of commonly used payment solutions. It accounts for under 1% of all mobile transactions. Alipay and WeChat Pay continue to dominate this market, as they have done for quite some time.

For the time being, the future of Apple Pay in China remains unclear. So far, things not looking good, which isn’t a big surprise. The continued refusal of granting NFC access will hurt the company in the long run. Even if they switched stances, the current PR nightmare will not be forgotten that easily. Beijing is more than happy with its own native application for public transportation payments, by the look of things. It is not unlikely we will see a similar approach by other Chinese cities in the future. An intriguing development, albeit one that doesn’t bode well for the popular technology giant.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock


About Author

JP Buntinx is a 30-year old FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers, and he is working to achieve the same level of respect in the FinTech sector.

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