Beijing public transport commuters can now hop on a train using smartphones if they're not iPhones

China's way of life dominated by smartphone payments just got easier for Android users as Apple is frozen out of a market dominated by home-grown competition

Shafi Musaddique
Tuesday 15 August 2017 15:51 BST
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Commuters on Beijing's public transport can use QR codes to pay for buses and trains but the service isn't available for Apple iPhone which is rarely used in China
Commuters on Beijing's public transport can use QR codes to pay for buses and trains but the service isn't available for Apple iPhone which is rarely used in China (Reuters)

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Louise Thomas

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Commuters in a rush on Beijing’s public transport can now use their smartphones to pay for trains and buses - great news for most, unless you’re an iPhone user.

Yikatong, the company behind Beijing’s public transport payment, launched an app on Monday accessible to Android smartphone users.

Local reports suggest 160 models, including Samsung and Huawei which dominate the country, will work with the payment system.

China’s capital city has sidelined the iPhone because of the walled status in which Apple operates reserving contactless payments methods only through Apple Pay.

Other apps such as WeChat and Ali Pay hold sway in China thanks to the dominance of Alibaba and Tencent. The American tech giant holds less than one per cent of the mobile payments market in China – 50 per cent belongs to Alipay, according to figures released by the Financial Times.

Both Chinese pay systems are miles ahead of what’s on offer in the Europe and America as they integrate social media and payment in one app.

Almost everyone in urban China uses smartphone QR codes to pay for everyday purchases as cash dwindles.

Restaurant goers in China are used to being asked whether they’d like to use WeChat or AliPay before bringing up a third option of cash.

In 2016, Chinese mobile payments hit £42 trillion, roughly 50 times the size of America’s £860bn market, according to iResearch.

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