Samsung Pay is now available in China, about six weeks after competitor Apple Pay launched there.
According to the China Internet Network Information Center, 358 million people use their mobile phones to purchase and pay for goods and services. Unsurprisingly, Apple and Samsung consider China a top priority for their mobile payment services, but they face an uphill climb for users.
Apple Pay and Samsung Pay already have to compete with Alibaba’s Alipay, which claims over 400 million active users with 80 percent on mobile, and Tencent’s WePay. Alipay and WePay are entrenched in daily life for many of China’s smartphone owners, so any new online payments service is going to find it difficult to woo new users.
Furthermore, both Apple and Samsung have seen their smartphone sales eroded by competing devices from domestic rivals like Xiaomi, Huawei, and Oppo.
Both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are partnered with China UnionPay, the bankcard association that until recently held a monopoly on electronic payments in China. It still processes the vast majority of the country’s card transactions, however, and claims 260 million users. Samsung Pay will initially support cards issued from nine Chinese banks before adding six more banks.
In China, Samsung Pay is currently available on the maker’s flagship models—the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and Galaxy Note5—but may be supported by “additional mid-range models in the future,” the company said in a press release.