Cupertino’s iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch-supporting digital wallet service got a big head start in the US on Samsung’s Galaxy S6-series and Note 5-enabled mobile transaction app more than a year ago, also spreading much faster to countries like the UK, Canada or Australia.

But when it comes to the world’s largest smartphone market, we might be looking at simultaneous Apple Pay and Samsung Pay launches. Apple couldn’t even enjoy the illusion of an early Chinese rollout for a full 24 hours, as its Korea-based arch-rival just went public with an announcement of a Union Pay partnership of its own. And to think the nation’s only bank card organization played coy with both tech giants for all this time.

All’s well that ends well, they say, and according to Samsung, “relevant tests and certification as required by Chinese regulators” will be run as soon as possible, before UnionPay cardholders can start using their handhelds at POS terminals nationwide in “early 2016.”

Compared to the competition, Samsung Pay doesn’t necessarily need NFC technology to work, playing nice with magnetic strip monitors too, and although the service is currently restricted to a handful of high-end Android devices, it should expand to lower-cost phones also in a matter of weeks, including the Galaxy A5 and A7 (2016).

After or perhaps alongside China, the simple and ultra-secure mobile payment service’s world tour will continue in Spain and the UK, as Samsung tries to catch up to Apple, and keep Google at arm’s length.

Source: Samsung Newsroom

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