After spending a month in beta, Samsung Pay officially launched in China today, reports Engadget. Samsung Pay is the company’s mobile payment solution that allows owners of some of its smartphone to use those devices to make purchases in apps and also at brick-and-mortar retailers. The service is typically compared to Apple Pay, which rolled out in America in 2014 and in China this past February.
In addition to the similar name and features, the rollout of Samsung Pay in China mirrors Apple in that its initial credit and debit card partner in the country is also UnionPay. As Engadget notes, the banks supporting Samsung Pay at launch will be ICBC, China’s largest, as well as China Construction Bank and China Merchants Bank. More banks are expected to sign up this year. Phones that will support Samsung Pay in China include the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and Galaxy Note 5.
Besides having one of the largest economies on the planet, both Samsung and Apple are so interested in China from a mobile payments perspective because the country embraced mobile wallets with a fervor not seen in other countries. In the third quarter of 2015, Chinese citizens made 4.54 billion mobile payment transactions totaling 18.17 trillion yuan (about $2.8 trillion), according to the latest Chinese government figures. As Engadget notes, that’s a staggering 253% year-on-year growth.