Alibaba Demos ‘Smile to Pay’ Facial Recognition App

Alibaba Demos 'Smile to Pay' Facial Recognition App

Alibaba just made a huge leap forward in identity verification, moving beyond fingerprint- and eyeball-scanning to facial recognition. Founder Jack Ma took center stage at the CeBit  2015 conference in Hannover, Germany, to demonstrate Smile To Pay, Alibaba’s smartphone payment system.

“I want to take this opportunity to demonstrate a small innovative product that we designed,” Ma stated. “Using online payments to buy things is always a big headache. You forget your password… you worry about security. Today we’ll show you a new technology, how people will buy things online in the future.”

Smile To Pay is currently in beta mode. Demonstrating the technology, Ma purchased a souvenir stamp from a 1948 Hannover trade fair as a gift for the host city’s mayor.

“In six days,” he said, “this stamp will be delivered to the office of the mayor of Hannover.”

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial is developing the technology for the Alipay online payments platform and Alipay Wallet, a service similar to Apple Pay.

Alipay has more than 300 million registered users in China, and over half of their transactions are via mobile.

Online and mobile payments are projected to reach $4.7 trillion by 2019, according to Juniper Research.

Competition for a slice of that pie is fierce among providers like Apple, Samsung, and Alibaba—all striving to crack authentication and make mobile payments more secure.


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