In a mobile payments environment that is frequently likened to a war, an era of peace and good feeling has broken out between two of the competitors.
Samsung has announced a final deal that will make China’s most popular mobile payments platform — the Alibaba-backed Alipay — available to Samsung users through Samsung Pay. The deal is particularly important as various mobile competitors are descending on China of late, and Alipay is China’s most formidable competitor, with hundreds of millions already using the platform with great regularity.
Samsung — apart from a win on its own — has also managed to beat rivals over at Apple to the punch; Cupertino has been actively pursuing a similar deal with Alibaba since last year, according to reports.
The deal hasn’t been announced yet, but with the popularity of iPhones in China, many anticipate a similar announcement from Apple in the future.
For the time being, however, the advantage accrues to Samsung users, who will now be able to tie their Alipay accounts to the service’s NFC and MST tech to check out at retail stores. Samsung Pay can also process Alipay’s QR codes.
The benefits for Alipay are pretty clear: Samsung Pay, with its ability to work in almost any card accepting system, gives Alipay a big jump in getting into physical retail locations.
In a press statement, Fan Zhiming, president of Ant Financial’s payment business unit, said the partnership will allow Alipay to expand its reach beyond eCommerce:
“Alipay covers the vast majority of online payment use cases. At the same time, it also developed a variety of offline use cases, including restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, taxis, hospitals and public services. The technology integration facilitated by this partnership with Samsung Electronics will make the payment process faster and more convenient when users make payments at stores where Alipay is accepted.”
Alipay currently claims to be accepted at 600,000 brick-and-mortar retail stores in China, as well as in over 1 million taxis.