Analysis: FeliCa Mobile Payment and Ticketing Nothing New in Japan, as Apple Strains for Apple Pay Developments to Spotlight

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple Wednesday confirmed that its new iPhone 7 smartphones and second-generation Apple Watch will support Sony’s proprietary FeliCa technology in Japan, as earlier reported, enabling transit and retail payments when Apple Pay launches in Japan next month. The tech giant will also expand Apple Pay into New Zealand and Russia this year, though was able to announce only one issuer so far between the two countries.

As NFC Times has reported, Apple is expected to support hybrid NFC technology in Japan in its devices, enabling both FeliCa–and the massive acceptance infrastructure that comes with the Sony owned technology–and standard NFC, which has very little acceptance to date in Japan. 

There have already been more than 30 million phones sold in Japan with the hybrid technology since 2012, including those from such competing device makers to Apple as Samsung, LG and Japanese handset makers Sony, Fujitsu and Sharp, according to the Mobile NFC Association of Japan. Japan introduced its first contactless wallet phones in 2004, supporting only FeliCa. 

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