[Xiaomi’s response + India launch] Mi Pay app starts appearing in stable MIUI builds across regions
New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….
Creating a tightly integrated ecosystem is useful for vendors in terms of revenue. Take the example of Apple: their hardware portfolio is extensively cohesive with their software counterpart.
From the perspective of average Joe’s, they can drop a text from their phone and seamlessly receive it in their tablet via iMessage. Want to share the clipboard or synchronize your work progress across devices? Continuity to the rescue.
In mainland China, Xiaomi was able to replicate the model. Due to Google’s absence in China, Xiaomi created a parallel version of Android ecosystem and integrated with their rich collection of services.
The same model is not feasible enough to be applied on global markets though. The Chinese OEM looked for opportunities and tapped into vacant places. One of the prime example of this practice is Mi Pay.
The original Mi Pay is a contactless NFC-based mobile payment mechanism that supports credit, debit and public transportation cards in China.
Xiaomi followed the tactics of Google for Indian market. They created an India specific variant of mobile payment system based on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and rebrand it as Mi Pay in the country.
What is Mi Pay?
With Mi Pay, you can make payments using UPI, debit cards, credit cards, and Internet Banking. You’ll also be able to make payments for several utilities with Mi Pay such as phone bill/recharge, DTH recharge, water bill, electricity bill, with just one tap.
NPCI has cleared Mi Pay for large group usage, due to which its beta testing is going live, and soon it will be available for all MIUI users. At launch, Mi Pay will support all leading credit cards and debit cards.
Xiaomi started public beta testing of the mobile app for the service in mid-December 2019. After a brief amount of evaluating, they started bundling it with MIUI since February beta builds. The app should show up only if the region is selected as India.
— FoneArena Mobile (@FoneArena) February 14, 2019
Since last few days, several users across the interweb reported about sudden appearance of Mi Pay app in their app drawer.
While doing some Google Play updates, I noticed an app called MiPay, asking for update. I never, ever installed or even heard of such app. After the adverts on their TVs and all the forced ads on mobile suggestions,
Xiaomi strikes again with a massive “F.U. dear customers”. I updated and run it. It asks acess to phone calls and contacts. Denied both and the app closed suddenly. Bonus: in Goggle Play it doesn’t even have a description and yet, half of its 1600+ reviews are 5 starts… Scam much?
Mi Pay pic.twitter.com/ihYWlVHVtr
— ikez (@ikez) March 18, 2019
(FYI: The user is from Indonesia)
Regardless of region and stable/beta channel, MIUI users have got the app installed. Xiaomi also put the app in Google Play so that updates can be delivered via Play store.
— Dr. Sámmy (@TheDrSammy) March 15, 2019
Today I accidentally update the Google Play Store. Now Mi pay app is showing on my screen. I am unable to delete this app.
This is not acceptable @XiaomiIndia you can not install apps without uaer permission in their device. This Mi Pay automatically got installed on my phone yesterday as system app and now I can't uninstall it. #DataTheft #ShameMi pic.twitter.com/S5ZuyjJKMK
— Alok Verma (@alokpurva) March 16, 2019
— kly1111 (@kly1111) March 16, 2019
Looks like someone at Xiaomi’s end accidentally pushed the wrong button. The app needs phone call and contacts access for it’s workflow, but those who are not accustomed with UPI, are getting suspicious.
Being a system app, it is impossible for end users to uninstall it completely. This messy situation once again has ignited the privacy issues against Xiaomi and their practice of inserting ads inside core operating system to generate revenue.
The Chinese OEM may cite the same old ‘MIUI integration’ saga as a ‘future’ official statement regarding the shenanigans:
Mi Pay’s biggest advantage is its deep integration within MIUI which makes transferring payments to contacts and vendors extremely easy. To begin with, Mi Pay would be integrated within the Contacts, SMS, Scanner apps as well as App Vault in MIUI. All user-generated data will be kept in a highly encrypted format within the India-based cloud infrastructure.
The automatic server side activation of Mi Pay may be considered as an indicator of a wider roll out in India.
Till then, enjoy yet another bloat my fellow non-Indian MIUI users!
Apparently Pocket-lint guys were tracking the same thing as us. They reached out to Xiaomi for their comment on the matter. According to Xiaomi officials:
The recent appearance of Mi Pay on some users’ phones occurred erroneously as Xiaomi is preparing for its launch in India. We are working on the updates and will notify the users as soon as possible. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Well well well, what did we speculate earlier?
Update 2 (March 19)
The Mi Pay service has been officially launched by Xiaomi in India.
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