Apple Pay backfires as Chinese netizens tell of a horrible registration experience

Apple Pay

Apple Pay went live in China on Thursday. Millions of enthusiasts reported trying the new feature in China on the first day, but complaints about the user experience also spread widely on Chinese social media.

What’s the problem with Apple Pay’s user experience?

1. Poor connection

“I only need three seconds to complete the transaction, but it took me three hours to add a card. If users can’t even add a card, is that even possible for Apple Pay to take any market share from WeChat and Alipay?” an Apple user complained on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media site.

The connection problem may be the biggest headache Apple Pay and its partners had on the first day. Many users complained that the verification process to initiate Apple Pay was painful: some spent hours connecting to the server and more gave up after the first several attempts.

Chinese netizens treated Apple Pay like Justin Bieber at the Comedy Central Roast — the only difference is that Apple Pay won’t have a chance to defend itself in the end. Below are some of the highlights from Weibo and Twitter.

“If you can’t add a card to Apple Pay, don’t be anxious and just wait for a couple of days. Then you’ll realise it’s of no use at all.” — Twitter user luosheng

“Apple Pay is just so high-end and so Apple, especially when you try to add a card. Internet can’t be accessed. Verification code can’t be received. It’s absolutely the same as the iCloud that can’t be synced, App Store that can’t show anything and Apple Music that always gets stuck.” — Twitter user wuyagege

“Finally bonded my card with Apple after a whole night.”

Photo from Weibo
Photo from Weibo user: Sohu News

2. Update in batches
But for some, they didn’t even get a chance to fail to connect. According to Apple, the feature update of Apple Pay is being made available to users in batches. It means even if you have an iPhone 6 and update to iOS 9.2, you may not be able to see the new features on Feb 18th if you happen to be in the later batches.

3. Failure to train partners beforehand
Another significant problem is that while Apple Pay can be used in retail chains such as McDonalds, it appeared that staff at these offline stores haven’t been informed at all. Users had to take up the responsibility of educating businesses on what Apple Pay is.

“I went to McDonald’s for lunch and said I wanna use Apple Pay. It turned out that the waitress ordered an apple pie for me.” — Weibo user CHairYUAN

4. Too many limitations
Apple Pay is only available to iPhone models released after iPhone 6 and can only be used with NFC-supported POS machines. For some critical netizens, it’s just another Apple product that no one will use when the curiosity fades away.

“I wondered for hours when I hadn’t got Apple Pay on my phone, then it struck me, yah, I’m using iPhone 5S.” — Weibo user Yang Da E Ren

“Apple Pay saves a lot of Apple Watches from the dark and dusty drawers and finally gives them a chance to appear in my WeChat Moments again.” — Twitter user adamwjf

“What? Apple Pay doesn’t have Red Envelopes? Then it’s useless to my parents.” — Twitter user i hkc.

What’s your experience with Apple Pay like? What do you think its future in China will be? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

(Featured Image from

AllTechAsia Staff

AllTechAsia is a startup media platform dedicated to providing the hottest news, data service and analysis on the tech and startup scene of Asian markets in English.

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