Samsung Pay is taking its fight against Apple Pay to China

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Samsung Pay is finally on the way. Photo: Samsung
Samsung Pay is finally on the way. Photo: Samsung

Apple Pay will finally arrive in China next year, and it’s going to have strong competition from day one. Just hours after Apple announced the expansion of its mobile payment service, Samsung confirmed its own will be following after it struck an almost identical deal with China UnionPay.

Samsung’s deal will allow UnionPay customers to manage their credit and debit cards using the Samsung Pay app, and to pay for goods using just their Galaxy smartphone. However, it seems Samsung Pay’s big advantage over Apple Pay will be missing in China.

Samsung says its mobile payment service will be available wherever there are QuickPass-branded NFC terminals — just like Apple Pay. Samsung Pay can also be used with traditional magnetic strip readers in other markets, but it doesn’t look like that will be the case for users in China.

“This cooperation between China UnionPay and Samsung will combine the strengths of the former in payment and the expertise of the latter in mobile terminals to jointly create brand new mobile payment experience for consumers, and to further expand the user base of UnionPay QuickPass brand,” said Chai Hongfeng, Executive Vice President of China UnionPay.

There is no specific launch date for Samsung Pay in China yet — Samsung still has plenty of testing to do — but it is aiming for an “early 2016” release.