After spending a month in beta, Samsung officially launched its mobile payments service, Samsung Pay, in China. The launch comes a month after the official launch of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay's biggest rival, in the region.
What is particularly interesting is the fact that Samsung's partner in China, financial giant UnionPay, is the same firm that is partnered with Apple's mobile payments system. According to Samsung, up to 10 UnionPay credit and debit cards could be loaded on a mobile device.
For now, only select Samsung flagship handsets support Samsung Pay in China, with only the company's latest offerings, namely the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5, being able to support the mobile payments system.
However, Samsung has hinted at the possibility of past flagships and other mid-range devices such as the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, A5, A7 and A9, also being included in the list of officially supported devices in the near future. Rooted devices would, of course, be automatically excluded from the list of supported devices, regardless of model.
Samsung Pay's launch in China includes support for nine banks across the massive country, including China CITIC Bank, China Construction Bank, China Everbright Bank, China Guangfa Bank, China Minsheng Banking, China Merchants Bank, Hua Xia Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ping An Bank.
Samsung further announced that support for the Bank of China, Bank of Beijing, Bank of Communications, China Bohai Bank, Industrial Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank would be added to the mobile payments system soon.
Injong Rhee, Samsung's executive vice president and head of R&D, is extremely optimistic about the possibilities that are being opened by the launch of Samsung Pay in China.
"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," Rhee said. "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."
Prior to the entry of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, China's mobile payment market had been dominated by homegrown systems such as Alipay and WeChat. Through the years, the market has grown significantly, with an astounding $2.8 trillion worth of transactions being processed through mobile payment systems last year.