There were many rumors recently that Apple was in discussions with the Hong Kong Octopus Cards Limited (OCL) operator to bring the Octopus smart transit card to Apple Pay. Octopus is based on FeliCa technology and a natural fit with Global FeliCa built into iPhone X, iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3 for an Apple Pay Suica-like service in the Hong Kong market.
However Samsung Pay has beaten Apple Pay to the punch, South China Morning Post has the details:
the minimum amount to add through the so-called Smart Octopus system will be HK$300 and there will be a 2.5 per cent service fee. The service will be available from December 14 for users of Samsung’s latest smartphones, Note 8, S8 and S8+.
The official Smart Octopus press release says service starts 9 am local time.
It will be interesting to see what exactly Samsung is bringing to the party and if they are providing any backend cloud services for a fast rollout. An independent locally operated cloud backend for Octopus will be important for providing the same service to Apple Pay and FeliCa capable Google Pay Android smartphones at a later time.
That said it’s great that Hong Kong transit is finally getting mobile smartcard service that Japan has had since 2006. Hopefully it will quickly expand to include Apple Pay and other digital wallet platforms.