Samsung Pay launches in China

Samsung has entered the Chinese mobile payments market in a bid to boost its reputation in the country

  • By Matt Timms | Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Samsung Pay has followed Apple into the Chinese mobile payment market. China is currently the world's largest market for smartphones

Samsung Pay is the latest name to enter China’s trillion-dollar mobile-wallet market, after launching its service in cooperation with local vendor UnionPay. Hot on the tails of a one-month public beta, Samsung Pay’s launch has been made official and will be supported by nine institutions, Bank of China, China Bohai Bank and China Construction Bank among them.

China’s is the largest market in the world for smartphones, with an estimated 68 percent of the population now owning one

“The reception of Samsung Pay since its launch has been extremely positive and the service has already seen tremendous success in terms of availability and adoption by consumers”, said Injong Rhee, Samsung’s Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Software and Services, Mobile Communications Business. “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.”

Apple, meanwhile, has made no secret of its ambitions to crack Chinese consumers. This should come as no surprise given the country’s booming middle class offers the biggest opportunity for mobile payment services in the world. China’s is the largest market in the world for smartphones, with an estimated 68 percent of the population now owning one. According to the China Internet Network Information Centre, 358m people paid for goods last year using their mobile device.

Samsung faces a tough battle with Apple. In terms of mobile payments, the American multinational has a one-month head start and boasts a much better reputation on Chinese soil. Samsung was the country’s fourth largest smartphone vendor in the first quarter of 2015, although it failed to make the top five in the fourth. Apple trails Huawei in second place and makes up a 14.6 percent share of the whole.

It’s too late for Samsung to get ahead of Apple – at least in the immediate term – but its mobile payments service could play a central part in boosting the company’s reputation in China.