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Alibaba and China Mobile rumored to be investing $443M in Dahua’s biometric surveillance business

Biometrics partnerships denied and formed by Chinese companies
Alibaba and China Mobile rumored to be investing $443M in Dahua’s biometric surveillance business

Dahua may be in line for a major investment in its biometric surveillance business from Alibaba and China Mobile, with Reuters reporting sources as saying the companies are near a 3 billion yuan (US$443 million) deal. The deal would be completed through a private share placement in the coming weeks.

China Mobile is also rumored to be working on a three-year business arrangement with Dahua for 40 billion yuan ($5.9 billion), under which the latter would provide big data and cloud computing services, video surveillance equipment and IoT technology.

Dahua is the second largest maker of surveillance equipment in China, according to Reuters, and the company was included on the U.S. Entity List last year for alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The U.S. government has since banned deals with service providers using Dahua’s hardware.

Reuters says China’s government is planning 500 smart city implementations including millions of cameras in public spaces and increased use of biometric facial recognition. The smart city market in China could be worth 25 trillion yuan ($3.7 trillion) by 2022, according to research by Qianzhan cited by Reuters, up from 7.9 trillion ($1.2 trillion) in 2018.

Dahua is listed on the Shenzhen exchange and has a market capitalization of $10.3 billion.

Ant Financial and Megvii deny sharing customers’ personal data

Ant Financial has denied working with Megvii on commercializing biometric facial recognition data, according to China Banking News, after reports emerged that leading Chinese computer scientist Li Kaifu said during a recent tech industry event that he had played a part in a partnership search.

Li is reported to have said he had helped Megvii work with partners including the insurance and fintech giant and Meitu on commercial applications for facial recognition data. He has now apologized for a “verbal error,” as each company denied various aspects of the story.

Ant Financial says it “has never provided any facial recognition data to Megvii,” and the business relationship between the companies was limited to licensing its algorithms. Ant is currently preparing for a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai with an expected valuation of $200 billion.

Megvii said in a statement it has not actively collected any personal data from end-users.

Hubei W-OLF partners with Viavi on 3D sensing technology

Hubei W-OLF Photoelectric, which makes biometric and infrared cut-off filters, has announced a collaboration with Viavi Solutions to use low angle shift filters patented by Viavi in 3D sensing technology, the new partners have announced.

The companies describe the use of 3D sensing technology with advanced optical filters in typical gesture recognition systems to transmit emitted light while blocking ambient light.

“VIAVI has built its position as a global leader in thin film optical coatings over the course of seventy years,” says Viavi President and CEO Oleg Khaykin. “3D sensing plays to VIAVI’s technical and operational strengths, enabling growth through engagement with major customers as well as collaboration agreements with ecosystem partners.”

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