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Only 13% of all iPhone global owners have tried Apple Pay, according to a report this week from Apple analyst Gene Munster at Loup Ventures. The weak figure is “disappointing even to conservative expectations,” Munster said. And it might suggest consumers will be far slower to ditch their credit cards in favor of paying with their smartphones than initially thought.
And yet, investment activity in the space has exploded this year. Most of the activity is coming from big tech companies outside the US.
In January, Ant Financial, formerly the payments arm of Alibaba (Ant is now separate from Alibaba and owned by Jack Ma and other Chinese private equity groups), announced it would buy US-based money-transfer company MoneyGram for $880 million. Now it’s locked in a bidding war with Kansas-based Euronet, which offered $1 billion for MoneyGram.
In February, Airbnb quietly closed its acquisition of peer-to-peer crowdfunding app Tilt, to beef up its payments division. Last month, Alibaba led a $200 million investment round in Indian payments app Paytm, after investing $500 million in Paytm’s parent company, One97 Communications, in 2015.
What exactly is going on here?