Apple a decade behind Japan mobile payment curve


The fact that the iPhone can be used to buy goods in a single swipe left Japanese customers nonplussed, who have been making mobile contact less payments for years

Apple Inc’s proud announcement that its new iPhone could be used to buy goods in a single swipe left customers nonplussed in Japan, where mobile contactless payments have been normal fare for a decade.

A type of near field communication (NFC) chip, known in Japan as FeliCa, was introduced to the Japanese mobile market in June 2004 and has been implanted in almost all phones sold in the country since.

Ten years ago the charismatic Takeshi Natsuno, who was then multimedia services director of Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo, extolled the benefits of swapping cash for cell phones.

“When I leave my house in the morning all I take with me is my phone, which lets me do everything—pay, take public transport—simply by swiping a special reader in shops, stations or airports,” he said at the time.

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