Samsung Pay Leapfrogs Rivals with Epic Alipay Deal

  • Philip Ryan
  • May 20, 2016
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 Credit / Attribution - Print © Can Stock Photo Inc. / defunTake that, Apple.

Samsung Pay may not be available in the United Kingdom yet, but it’s rapidly expanding its reach in China in a March deal with UnionPay, the world’s largest credit card network, and now through a new deal with Alipay.

The Seoul-based electronics company announced the deal today. Alipay’s 450 million users can now use China’s most popular mobile payments services within Samsung Pay.

Alipay is a colossus confronting foreign payments firms hoping to gain traction in China. This deal is hugely validating for Samsung, and it’s not clear where it will leave Apple, which arrived in China in February, but without a deal with Alipay or Tencent’s WeChat. Apple has a UnionPay deal — you can’t do business China without a deal with the country’s only card network.

Google’s Android Pay is not yet available in China. It should be noted that Google has had a poor relationship with the Chinese government to date.

Samsung describes how Alipay accounts can be loaded into Samsung Pay in a press release:

After registering your Alipay account into Samsung Pay, users simply can begin paying with their mobile phones by swiping up from the Lock Screen, Home Screen or Sleep Mode, selecting the Alipay QR code, and holding the smartphone up to the merchant’s scanner to scan the QR code at the register.

Alipay has its own wallet app for smartphones, but this deal presumably widens the options it can offer its customers.

Samsung accounts for approximately 25% of China’s 1 billion smartphones, though Samsung Pay does not work on all Samsung devices.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at

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