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Apple sidelined as Beijing transit system launches payments app

15 August 2017  |  8111 views  |  1 Chinese flag

Apple's refusal to grant access to the iPhone's NFC function looks set to dent the firm's Chinese ambitions, leaving customers unable to use a new payments app for journeys on Beijing's public transport system.

This week, Beijing's public transport payments company Yikatong launched its contactless payments app, enabling millions of travellers with Android devices to pay for rides with a tap of their handsets.

However, Apple's policy of not letting third parties use the iPhone's NFC function, reserving it purely for Apple Pay, means that the American company's customers will be left in the cold, according to the Financial Times.

Apple is already facing an uphill battle to gain a foothold in China's massive m-payments ecosystem, failing to crack the top ten of payments apps since launching in early 2016. Apple Pay accounts for less than one per cent of all mobile transactions in a market dominated by home grown giants such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.

The firm has taken an uncompromising stance on NFC access, recently winning a long-running battle with Australia's big banks on the issue.

However, the position could prove costly in China, where iPhone sales have been falling. In London commuters can pay for their journeys with Apple Pay but Beijing has taken a different approach, building its own app, something likely to be followed by other Chinese cities.

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 15 August, 2017, 09:15

How long will it be before Apple declares an "innovation" in terms of opening up their NFC chip like they did a few years ago with 3rd party keyboards?

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