Samsung Pay is the latest of the mobile wallets to launch in China, hoping to gain traction with the country’s booming mobile user base and plug into its massive (and growing) online economy. Samsung’s wallet follows rival Apple Pay, which launched in the region in mid-February into a highly competitive market where local player Alipay already dominates.
Samsung is partnering with China UnionPay for the launch, as did Apple. It will be available to customers at China CITIC Bank, China Construction Bank, China Everbright Bank, China Guangfa Bank, China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd, China Merchants Bank, Hua Xia Bank , Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ping An Bank with more in the works.
Alipay is far and away the strongest player in China’s payments space, a division of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba. To give an idea of scale, Alibaba said that during Single’s Day, China’s biggest shopping day, 115m buyers funnelled USD14bn in gross volume through its Alipay platform. Then there’s WeChat, powered by Tencent, which lets customers do anything from book a cab to organise insurance in-app. Stats from Didi Dache, one of China’s biggest on-demand cab companies, claim 21m taxi rides had been booked on its service via WeChat since integrating.
Back in February, Samsung Pay said it had more than five million registered users and has processed over USD500m in its first six months in the markets where it had launched so far: the US and South Korea. The firm’s advantage is that it works with more terminals, however coming up against the country’s homegrown payments companies will make for a tough road ahead.
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