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Translated by
Benjamin Fitzgerald
Published
Sep 5, 2017
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Alibaba: paying with a smile

Translated by
Benjamin Fitzgerald
Published
Sep 5, 2017

With the push for contactless payments -- via fingerprint or retina scan -- the Chinese giant has now implemented the 'Smile to Pay' concept in China, through the facial recognition tool of its subsidiary Ant Financial.

Smile to Pay - Alibaba


The payment method is currently being trialled in a KFC restaurant in Chinese city, Hangzhou, two years after the idea was first unveiled by Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, at the IFA tradeshow in Germany. The technology has since been developed by Chinese start-up Megvii, after a fundraising round resulted in $150 million. 

The goal, though not disclosed but still obvious for Alibaba, is to help Alipay catch up on the popular WeChat application. The Tencent-owned mobile app is currently widely used for contactless payments in the burgeoning Asian nation.

Smile to Pay - Alibaba


Getting down to the facts, the payment first requires Alipay users to have the new facial recognition accepted for use on their accounts. From here, consumers will be recognised by the dedicated terminals, equipped with 3D cameras capable of overcoming the disguises of possible fraudsters.

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