Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) admitted mobile payments uptake had been slower than first anticipated, adding he hoped to “still be alive” to see the elimination of physical money.

In a Financial Times report on the company’s annual shareholder day, Cook said the take up of NFC mobile payment services had not been as quick as expected, but reiterated he was optimistic Apple had potential to expand its reach into the financial services sector.

Contrasting with the overall trend, Cook noted some countries had experienced very rapid adoption – citing China, Russia and Japan. He attributed the swift uptake in those countries partly to integration with ticketing systems for public transport.

The comments echo statements made by Cook in March 2017 bemoaning slow mobile payment uptake in the US and Europe compared to China.

Although Cook held China up as an example of a successful mobile payment market, his company’s Apple Pay service lags well behind established services Alipay and WeChat Pay in terms of uptake. The rival companies process the majority of their payments using QR codes rather than Apple’s preferred NFC system.

Apple’s prospects in the country were dealt a further blow when its service was excluded from a mobile payment ticketing scheme on the Beijing underground after it was reportedly unwilling to give authorities access to the NFC chip used to process the payment.