But the South Korean electronics giant is coming up against some stiff competition in China. Apple Pay went live in China last month, while existing competitors – Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's WePay – already have a strong foothold in the market. Alipay says it has over 400 million active users, with 80 percent on mobile. Also, both WePay and Alipay are already ingrained into the daily lives of Chinese consumers, something that will be a challenge for Samsung.
"The kind of services they (Tencent and Alibaba) offer are well integrated into Tencent's messaging platform WeChat and into Alibaba's whole ecosystem of e-commerce services," Enrique Velasco-Castillo, analyst at Analysys Mason, told CNBC by phone.
Samsung Pay currently supports select credit and debit cards from nine banks:
- China CITIC Bank
- China Construction Bank
- China Everbright Bank
- China Guangfa Bank
- China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd
- China Merchants Bank
- Hua Xia Bank
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- Ping An Bank
Samsung said it would add additional support for credit and debit cards from six more banks including Bank of China, Bank of Beijing, Bank of Communications, China Bohai Bank, Industrial Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.
Currently Samsung Pay is available on the company's Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5. It said that there is an "opportunity" to support additional mid-range models "in the future".
One advantage of Samsung Pay is that it is compatible with both field communication (NFC) technology as well as magnetic strip technology, meaning retailers will not have to upgrade their point-of-sales terminals.