The new iOS 11.3 update now allows commuters in Shanghai and Beijing to use Apple Pay on iPhone and Apple Watch to ride the subway and buses, according to the company’s press release.
Apple Pay’s Express Transit feature allows users to add new transit cards or transfer the balance on their current transit card to their mobile wallet. Commuters can top-up their card for a minimum of 10 RMB and maximum of 500 RMB.
Last year Apple Pay debuted in Hangzhou and Guangzhou’s public transits. With Shanghai and Beijing on board, Apple Pay now is available in four city subway networks in China.
In January, Shanghai Metro started accepting Alipay as a fare payment method. Tencent also debuted WeChat at Guangzhou metro network last November and are available in 23 cities so far. The two mobile payment apps have already dominated China market for quite some time — taking over 90% share combined — making it more difficult for Apple Pay to capture a significant share. China’s domestic mobile payment apps are so popular that even Apple stores in China accept Alipay. On top of that, iOS has a smaller share of the Chinese market compared to Android system which means a large percentage of smartphone users in China doesn’t have access to Apple Pay.
Although the mobile payment app’s scrimmage over China’s public transport is still playing out, it is certain that Apple Pay is in for a tough fight.