Huawei Pay’s South African launch date remains a 2019 mystery

The question of “when is Huawei Pay coming to South Africa” has become something of a meme for local journalists.

We were last told late 2018, but this date has seemingly been pushed back.

The Chinese firm’s contactless payments system, which is operational in some European markets and China, is set to compete against the likes of Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay in South Africa. But it can’t, because it’s not yet available here.

Last night, at the firm’s launch of its Mate 20 Pro in Kyalami, the question was asked yet again.

Akhram Mohamed, Huawei South Africa’s CTO, answered the question this time around. While ultimately settling on the TL;DR answer of “it will launch in 2019”, his longer answer explained just why it has taken the firm this long to roll out its product.

Talks between the “financial institutions” and Huawei remain ongoing, but none have put pen to paper just yet it seems.

GDPR and POPI compliance we’re also mentioned, with Mohamed’s second reason stemming from 2018’s new privacy laws in Europe and South Africa.

“We also need to make sure we comply with POPI, to ensure we future proof and have compliance,” he added.

Finally, Mohamed stressed that the offering brought to market by the firm “must be different to what’s available”.

“We’re finding that we have a few capabilities that are either on par or a step ahead of what competitors are offering and what financial institutions are offering,” he added.

But it didn’t stop there.

“In saying that,” Mohamed continued, “it could be a competing product with the financial institution we’re trying to partner with”.

It’s not immediately clear what the company representative meant by this statement, however it is interesting to note that Samsung’s approach to launching its Pay offering hinged entirely on financial institutions’ support and aimed to work alongside NFC and traditional credit card machines.

Mohamed did confirm that a phased rollout will be a given, largely thanks to advanced talks with unmentionable institutions, but that’s about as granular as the Huawei personnel got.

But at least now we have a date, well, kind of.

Feature image: Andy Walker/Memeburn

Andy Walker, former editor


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