(Yicai Global) March 30 -- Apple Inc.'s latest update to its iOS operating system allows iPhone and Apple Watch users in two of China's biggest cities to sync their local transport card with their device, negating the need to carry the card of scan QR codes to pay public transport fares.
iOS 11.3 went live today and features a function named Express Transit, which allows users to 'scan' their metro card by placing their iPhone or Apple Watch near the card reader. They can use their device to top up the card with between CNY10 (USD1.6) and CNY500 (USD80) from their Apple Pay account.
The move comes shortly after China's biggest third-party payment providers, WeChat Pay (Tencent Holdings Ltd.) and Alipay (Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.), which command a combined 90-percent market share, rolled out similar platforms in other cities.
The subway in Shanghai allows users to pay with Alipay by scanning a QR code on their mobile, and travelers in Guangzhou and other cities can do the same with the WeChat app. Apple's version works slightly differently, negating the need for riders to scan a QR code and allowing them to simply place it near the scanner.
The Silicon Valley giant teamed up with China's largest payments firm China UnionPay last year to roll out a similar service in Guangzhou and Hangzhou, two other major Chinese cities. This approach differed slightly, and users were billed immediately from their UnionPay card or account each time they scanned, rather than using a prepay system.
Express Transit users in Shanghai will be able to use the service to pay for buses, subway rides, maglev train journeys and ferries. Those in the capital will be able to pay for buses and subway fares.