Facial payment systems develop apace in China


By 2017, facial recognition was developing quickly in China and was beginning to become embedded in payment and other systems. The Chinese startup Face++, valued at roughly $1 billion, supplies facial recognition software to Alipay, a mobile payment app used by more than 120 million people; the dominant Chinese ride-hailing service, Didi; and several other popular apps. The Chinese search engine Baidu is working with the government of popular tourist destination Wuzhen to enable visitors to access many of its attractions without a ticket, just a facial image. People are attracted to the technology because of its convenience; in some coffee shops the staff welcome customers by name when the system alerts them. 


Writer: Will Knight
Publication: Technology Review
Publication date: March/April 2017