Bloomberg reports that both companies will soon support China’s largest payment network, UnionPay. The banking giant already powers over 5 million NFC-powered terminals across the country. The company operates in over 150 countries with more than 4.6 billion bank cards in use, but the focus here is clearly on China.
“China is an extremely important market for Apple, and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks, users will soon have a convenient, private and secure payment experience,” said Apple’s services chief Eddie Cue in a statement to Bloomberg.
Apple and Samsung still face plenty of local competition when it comes to mobile payments in China. E-commerce giant Alibaba‘s Alipay currently dominates the region, and Tencent also operates its own Tenpay alternative.
Even so, there should be plenty of room for both phone-makers to expand. Apple’s appeal with high-end shoppers gives it a clear point of entry into the country, and Samsung Pay’s ability to work at non-NFC terminals will likely give it an advantage over the competition as well.