Apple is reportedly developing an iPhone for Japan that uses Felica, a contactless technology developed by Sony that is used for a number of applications including mass-transit fares.
Apple, which has yet to launch its NFC-based Apple Pay in Japan, is looking to break into the the country’s mobile payments market, which is one of the most sophisticated in the world, with many providers of transit payment cards based on Felica.
According to the Bank of Japan, Felica dominates Japan with an estimated 1.9 million payment terminals, Bloomberg reported. The terminals last year handled JPY4.6 trillion yen ($45.4 billion) in transactions.
In addition to being widely accepted, Sony claims the transaction time on Felica-based terminals is just 0.1 seconds, because the processing is not slowed by bank approval, Cnet reported.
Bloomberg said Apple is working with a number of transit card providers and the payment feature will be available in the next iPhone launched in Japan, which is likely in September.
With Apple’s revenue falling sharply in China, Japan has been a bright spot for the company in Asia. Its sales in Japan last quarter rose 23 per cent to $3.5 billion, representing 8 per cent of its total revenue.
Apple Pay has been launched in only four markets in Asia — Australia, China, Singapore and last week Hong Kong.