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Samsung heir discusses ties with U.S. card firms for new mobile wallet

The heir apparent of South Korea's top conglomerate, Samsung Group, has met with U.S. credit card company executives during his recent visit to the country, seeking possible tie-ups for its new mobile payment platform, Samsung Pay, the group's chief spokesman said Wednesday.

Lee Jay-yong, the only son of the group owner Lee Kun-hee, held a meeting with a few chief executives of U.S. credit card firms over the course of his weeklong stay there, said Lee June, the head of Samsung's communications division.

"I understand that he had a meeting with two or three CEOs, and it was about discussing cooperation in relation to Samsung Pay, in a broad sense," he said, without giving names of the card firms.

The vice president of Samsung Electronics Co., one of the world's major smartphone makers, arrived in Seoul early Wednesday after wrapping up a weeklong trip to the U.S. The 47-year-old scion has been practically in charge of the conglomerate since his father became bedridden after suffering a heart attack last May.

Samsung Pay is one of the latest creations by the tech giant poised to strive to reclaim its global primacy after posting the weakest earnings in three years in 2014, dragged down by sluggish sales of its flagship Galaxy smartphones.

Earlier in the day, Samsung said it plans to launch Samsung Pay by the second half of this year in Korea, with the help of ties it expects to clinch with six local credit card firms.

During the official release of its latest Galaxy S6 on Monday, the company said the new handset will feature its own mobile wallet platform.

Lee's main purpose of his U.S. trip was to attend a Business Council meeting, Samsung said, which is a U.S.-based exclusive policy advisory group made up of key business leaders, including Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos, who is the current chairman. Lee became an official member in June 2013 and has been attending the triannual meeting every year. 

 Lee also made visits to the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center and Samsung Research America, both located in California, the Samsung spokesman added. (Yonhap)

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