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SIMpass: Is China’s NFC Dream Doomed? — The Biz Loft

Note: This article was originally published for the Italian-language tech site The Biz Loft; the excerpts below are from the automatic translation on the website. Click here for the original article.

That of the mobile payment market is one of the most greedy of next year. We all have at least one mobile phone and we all have to pay for what we buy. If we add to this the progressive dematerialization of money, strongly desired by many for various reasons, you get a clear picture: the first one will be able to impose a system that allows everyone to pay for everything with the phone will have, say, turned.

In fact, many people are trying to. And the nascent Chinese industry innovation tries to play a global role with a technology called SIMPass.

SIMpass is nothing but a variation of NFC (Near Field Communication), developed by one of those Chinese companies, Watchdata, who are trying to impose on the international markets not only its products but also its technology. By inserting a card into the phone SimPass, the user is able to make payments approaching the terminal to a compatible player. China Mobile and China Telecom have embraced this technology, thanks to economies of scale possible in the country has reached in a few months, the significant threshold of 5 million users. Thanks largely to a pilot project launched in Shenzhen city, but also in other cities in China and Thailand.

SIMpass competes with other similar technologies on the market, including the NFC that we use in Italy (very popular especially in Japan) and another technology called SWP, which is developing too patchy in South Korea, France, Russia and Turkey.

Looking forward, the numbers would seem to account for the Chinese option. But there is something that probably will not allow her to leave the country for becoming internationally.The card was designed by Watchdata in fact, includes an antenna rather massive (thin, but with rough surface of a box of matches). So it can only be used with terminals designed specifically to accommodate the antenna is the sim.

Dave Carini, an analyst expert in these matters of Maverick China Research that The Loft Biz interviewed in Beijing, “Although SIMpass has great potential, I doubt that it can become a global player in the NFC market. In fact, despite the local market to provide a starting point difficult to reach by their foreign competitors, the presence of the external antenna will make it very difficult for the promoters to convince the producer of the terminals to develop customized models for this technology. “

“Moreover – added Carini – while having an easy life in the Chinese market, SIMpass will find it hard to be successful in more developed markets, where a jumble of players such as Visa, MasterCard, Google, Paypal and Square are already marking their territory with a dense web of partnership “.

Speaking to The Biz Loft on the subject, managers have stressed SIMpass Watchdata has found considerable success in the area of transport in more than 20 Chinese provinces, pointing out that within months the presence of the external antenna may not be necessary.

But in a sector such as mobile payments, where technology and the search run faster than ever, “few months” may be too long. The time when Chinese companies were limited to copy and produce is finished. But where will the international search has not yet begun.

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