With the announcement of Apple Pay at the Special Event held by Apple on the 9th September 2014 came an evolution in how most of us will pay for items in the future. Most stores in the UK already accept NFC, and many of us will have NFC bank cards (maybe without even realising it), so it is a technology that has already penetrated the many adoption obstacles that new technology can face. Luckily Apple Pay also takes advantage of this existing technology, and it wont be long before consumers in the US and Europe will enjoy the benefits of paying with their iPhone.
China however lacks this technology in the retail environment, and Wechat has been trying to change this over the past year with its own built in payment system, that allows consumers to pay within their Wechat application. Over 30,000 stores in China already accept Wechat payments such as 7-Eleven and Burger King, all you have to do is scan a QR code in your Wechat app.
With Apple Pay on the horizon, and Apple undoubtedly looking at entering the Chinese market how will Wechat respond?
One of the benefits Wechat has is that it can be seen to be a more appealing method of payment to retailers, because regardless of which phone you have, brand, software, model etc Wechat payments will work, as it only requires the scanning of a QR code. Apple Pay on the other hand requires NFC hardware to be installed, it requires the user to own one of Apple’s new flagship mobile phones and it will also require them to link to an individuals bank account, a difficult task in a country with very strict banking regulations.
Whilst is it clear that Apple Pay will fair well in the West, it could be sometime before it sees any kind of entry in to the mainland Chinese market, giving Wechat the time to dodge and counter Apple’s attack, likely long before they launch the service in China.
Article: Jimmy Robinson