Samsung Pay, Alipay join hands in China

Kelly Lee, May 19, 2016, 9:43 a.m.

Samsung Electronics confirmed Thursday it has teamed up with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba to further tap into the soaring Chinese mobile payments market. Under the strategic partnership that is expected to be announced Friday, Samsung Pay, the Korean tech giant’s mobile payments system, will include Alibaba’s Alipay within its platform as one of its payment methods. 

After fingerprint verification, Samsung Pay users are required to choose a payment method among credit cards and membership points. Now the QR code-based Alipay has become another option. Currently, some 450 million people use Alipay in China alone. 

Following its debut in Korea in August and in the U.S. in September last year, Samsung Pay was launched in China in March this year. By teaming up with China’s most-used mobile payments service, Samsung aims to take on Apple, which started its Apple Pay service in February. 

“Securing more Samsung Pay users is crucial to elevate our smartphone sales in the longer-term,” said a Samsung executive on condition of anonymity. “Because the service is now offered in premium phones only, we are also considering adopting the service in low-end, cheaper phones.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, has struggled in China in recent years with its market share continuing to fall in the important market. According to market research firm Counterpoint Technology Research, Samsung owned a tiny 7.7 percent market share in China last year, down from 12.8 percent a year ago. The previously No. 2 market leader barely secured the sixth position. 

Samsung said Samsung Pay has hit the 1 trillion won ($847 million) mark in terms of accumulative transactions made in Korea over the past nine months. It has more than 5 million users globally, including 2.5 million in Korea.

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