Apple Pay’s plans to enter China are at an advanced stage. The digital mobile money service could hit points-of-sale in the country as early as February 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal, but will this have an impact on Bitcoin in China?
China will be the fifth country, after the US, UK, Canada and Australia, where Apple Pay will launch. In preparation for this roll out, Apple Pay registered a local subsidiary- Apple Technology Service (Shanghai) Ltd. – in June and has already signed contracts with four Chinese state-run commercial banks to facilitate the service in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
But how will Apply Pay’s entrance into the Chinese market affect the prospects of Bitcoin?
Chinese Entrepreneurs with interests in the decentralized currency as well as the Bitcoin community around the world must be carefully watching these recent developments.
Apple Pay is trying to achieve what Bitcoin might do in China if given an opportunity. It is offering consumers a way to easily and fast make payments on-the-go from their mobile devices at brick and mortar retail stores. Currently, only mining and trading Bitcoin in China is legal while using it to buy goods is banned.
It is, therefore, interesting to find out whether Apple Pay will succeed in making Chinese consumers fall in love with this way of making payments. Of course, there are already similar services operating. Ali Pay is the largest of these, controlling about a half of China’s payment market with about 300 million users.
However, it can be argued that Apple Pay has an advantage over the competition given that iPhones are already very popular in China. At the beginning of 2015, China overtook the US as Apple’s largest market and now accounts for more than 30% of iPhone sales.
Apple Pay Not Doing Very Well
With that said, Apple Pay’s move into China comes after recent studies have shown that it is not doing as well as initially expected in the US, where it first launched.
In August 2015, PYMNTS.com, a leading payments industry new site, reported that the number of eligible Apple Pay users who had actually tried the service dropped from 15.1 in March 2015 to 13.1 percent in June.
In the same study showed that usage among subscribed customers fell too. “When asked in March, ‘Did you use Apple Pay on this transaction,’ 39.3 percent of consumers said yes,” PYMNTS.com explained in an article, “When asked the same question in June, only 23 percent replied in the affirmative.”
Whatever the case, the entrance of Apple Pay into the Chinese market might be an opportunity for Bitcoin. In other circumstances, the Apple mobile payment service fits well the description of a competitor to Bitcoin. In this case, however, it offers a dry run for the latter, and its success could imply good prospects for Bitcoin in future as a payment method in the Asian country if the regulators have a change of heart about it.
Do you think the entrance of Apple Pay into China is a good thing for Bitcoin? Share your thoughts in the comments below!