New Alipay facial recognition payment system broadly deployed to historic shopping street

A facial recognition payment system extending along a street historically known for shopping in Wenzhou City, China has been deployed through a partnership between the local government, Ant Financial, and Alibaba, according to China News Service.

Approximately 20 stores along Wuma Street, which translates as “Five Horse Street” and CNS calls “iconic,” have been equipped with Alipay’s Dragonfly payment system. Customers use an Alipay tablet for facial scans to pay, in a process which takes less than 10 seconds. A local administrator said that it is hoped the system will improve efficiency during peak shopping and tourism season.

Alipay upgraded from its former “Smile-to-Pay” system to the Dragonfly POS device in December, ahead of an expected surge in demand for facial recognition payments in China.

Ant Financial Vice President Yang Peng says the system has been upgraded with a 3D structured light camera, and delivers 99.99 percent accuracy.

The partnership to jointly develop a smart business area was formed in 2015, and expansion of the system to other shopping areas around the city is planned. Other aspects of the collaboration include a system developed by Ant Financial to rate the financial standing of small and medium-sized businesses.

Trials of facial recognition payment systems were also launched in several other countries during 2018, including South Korea and Finland.

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