Apple has temporarily halted plans to launch Apple Pay in India after facing troubles with regulators in the country and a few technical hurdles, according to The Economic Times. Specifically, Apple is said to be concerned about the Reserve Bank of India's recent data localization rule, which requires companies to store all of their payments data for local users only in India.
Because of this rule, numerous companies -- including Apple, Amazon, PayPal, WhatsApp, Visa, and MasterCard -- have faced uncertainties regarding the rollout of their respective mobile wallets in India. Apple is said to have gone so far as to meet with a few leading banks and the National Payments Corporation of India, which manages the country's Unified Payments Interface platform.
In addition, Apple has reportedly encountered a few technical and design hurdles surrounding Apple Pay's India launch, relating to the inclusion of Touch ID as a mode of authentication for payments in India on supported iPhones. The NPCI did not agree to this plan, because the country's UPI is based on a six or four-digit passcode to authenticate transactions and does not have support for smartphone-based biometric security features yet.
Following these hurdles, plans as of now have been shelved, according to two people familiar with the matter.
“Apple will not launch payments in India yet. They are waiting to see how the regulatory landscape shapes up,” one of them said.
The Apple Pay news is just the latest in a string of negative reports regarding Apple's attempt at expansion in India, one month after the company faced a potential legal threat over noncompliance with the Indian government's anti-spam iPhone app. Otherwise, the company has had trouble in the country due to ever-increasing taxes on imported smartphones, rising iPhone prices because of such taxes, and user frustration with poor Apple services like Apple Maps.
In an attempt to finally rectify these issues, Bloomberg in August reported that Apple is planning a completely revamped India strategy led by Apple executive Michel Coulomb. This includes better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the opening of official Apple retail stores in India, "overhauling" the company's relationship with independent retailers, and improving apps and services "aimed more closely at Indians."
Apple Pay was never mentioned as part of that strategy, so it doesn't appear that users in India will have a chance to use the company's mobile wallet anytime soon. Otherwise, Apple Pay is available in over two dozen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong, France, Russia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, UAE, Brazil, Ukraine, Norway, and Poland.
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