Apple Pay has suffered a huge setback in China, the transit system in the country’s capital Beijing is refusing to accept the app.

Beijing commuters can pay for their trips with the subway system’s Android App but not with Apple Pay, The Financial Times reported. The weirdest aspect to this story is that the official transit app uses the same near-field communications (NFC) as Apple Pay and Android Pay.

That’s bad news because it means Apple is missing out on a lot of potential business. Around 42% of Beijing’s population uses the transit system and there are around eight million trips on the city’s subway system alone every day, according to Wikipedia.

Why is Beijing Transit Saying No to Apple Pay?

Once again Apple faces the dilemma of real people being unable to pay for real stuff in the real world with its payment solution. In the United States most of the big retailers; including Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, and Lowe’s are refusing to take Apple Pay.

Since those retailers also refuse to take Android Pay, it’s pretty safe to assume that they’re worried about holes in security. Last month a company called Positive Technologies demonstrated how easy it was to crack Apple Pay using public Wi-Fi.

The situation in Beijing is a little more complex, the most likely scenario is that a government agency in China’s capital simply does not want to be associated with such an American brand as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). That’s rather bothersome, because it is reminiscent of the nationalist sentiments that were rampant right before World War I.

Many observers have compared the present relations between the United States and China, to those between the British Empire and Germany in 1914. A lot of Chinese resent American dominance, in the way that the Germans resented British ascendency on the eve of the Great War. For a good overview of what happened back then see Margret MacMillan’s excellent book The War that Ended Peace.

Another reason may simply be to drive business to Chinese companies. Not coincidently; Apple has announced plans to build a new data center in Guizhou province. That data center will be overseen by the government of the People’s Republic, Apple Insider reported.

It looks as if both the future of Apple Pay; and American-Chinese relations, are becoming far more complicated. One wonders if U.S. nationalists like President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) will retaliate against Ant Financial’s Alipay digital wallet – which is now widely available in the United States.

It looks like as if Apple and all American companies face more problems in China. It also appears that something as simple as Apple Pay might be a reminder of the dangerous age we live in.

 

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