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 the latest unconfirmed report today says that Samsung has inked an exclusive deal to bring Octopus to Samsung Pay starting in January 2018 on Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and S8. Hopefully we’ll find out details soon.
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 Smart Octopus will be important for providing the same service to other Android phones and Apple Pay at a later time.
That said it’s great that Hong Kong transit is finally getting mobile smart card service that Japan has had since 2008. Hopefully it will rapidly expand to include other Android devices and Apple Pay.
Update: Hong Kong readers are saying that local reports are true. Looks like Apple Pay lost out on Hong Kong transit. A video announcement says Smart Octopus on Samsung Pay starts December 14.