Menu
Alibaba uses facial recognition tech for online payments

Alibaba uses facial recognition tech for online payments

The technology could replace the use of passwords on Alibaba's Alipay service

Jack Ma showing off Alipay's new facial recognition tech

Jack Ma showing off Alipay's new facial recognition tech

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group and affiliated online payment service Alipay are aiming to use facial recognition technology to take the place of passwords.

On Sunday, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma showed off the new feature while speaking at the Cebit trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

Using Alipay, Ma bought a souvenir stamp from Alibaba's e-commerce site in China. But to confirm the purchase, Ma scanned his face using the front camera on his smartphone.

"Online payment to buy things is always a big headache," he said. "You forget your password, you worry about your security. Today we show you a new technology."

Alibaba, which reigns as China's largest e-commerce player, said Monday that the facial recognition feature was still under development.

Other online payment services have also started using biometrics to confirm user purchases. Apple Pay, for instance, relies on an iPhone's fingerprint scanner.

It's unclear how secure is Alibaba's technology. But the company's affiliated Alipay service is already hugely popular in China, where it has over 300 million registered users.

Just over a half of the transactions Alipay processes came from mobile devices last year. And although most of Alibaba's business remains in China, the company has ambitions to expand globally.

Earlier this month, the company announced it would enter the U.S. cloud computing market, by opening a new data center in Silicon Valley.

Alipay, which was spun off from Alibaba in 2011, is also seeking to grow an international user base. Last October, Apple CEO Tim Cook also said he was eyeing a possible partnership with Alibaba Group to bring Apple Pay to China.

The facial recognition feature, while still in a beta state, is called "Smile to Pay", according to a social media post by Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba affiliated company which runs Alipay. The feature was developed in partnership with a Beijing company Megvii, which provides a cloud-based facial recognition service.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileinternete-commercecebitAlibaba Group

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018: meet the top performing partners

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018: meet the top performing partners

Reseller News honoured the industry’s finest on a standout evening for the New Zealand channel, recognising the achievements of established partners, emerging players and innovative start-ups, in front of over 460 technology leaders in Auckland.

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018: meet the top performing partners
Champagne Reception kicks off Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018

Champagne Reception kicks off Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018

More than 460 channel leaders came together to toast the top performers of the New Zealand industry, during the opening Champagne Reception at the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018 - in association with Techbuyer.

Champagne Reception kicks off Reseller News Innovation Awards 2018
Show Comments