Samsung Pay takes on Apple in China

Samsung Pay takes on Apple in China

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has waded into the huge but competitive Chinese mobile money market, teaming up with China UnionPay to launch its payments service in the country.

The launch means that Chinese owners of top-end Samsung handsets can link credit and debit cards from participating banks and make contactless payments by scanning their fingerprints.

Samsung has lined up nine banks - including China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China - for the launch and says that another six are onboard to add support in the near future.

Injong Rhee, head of R&D, software and services of mobile communications business, Samsung, says: "In compliance with national laws and regulations, thanks to cooperating with CUP and many banks, we ultimately want to make Samsung Pay available to as many consumers as possible in China, so that everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy the simplicity, safety and convenience of this mobile payment solution."

The company is following Apple into China, which launched in the country earlier this year and also faces competition from local handset manufacturer Huawei, which has just rolled out its own NFC-based mobile payments service.

One advantage Samsung may have is that its service does not rely on NFC-enabled terminals, using magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology to turn existing mag-stripe readers into contactless receivers.

This has helped Samsung Pay pick up impressive momentum in South Korea and the US, winning five million registered users and processing over $500 million in transactions in its first six months. The service is slated to launch in Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Spain and the UK this year.

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