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Beijing implements facial recognition for foreigners registering a business

Beijing implements facial recognition for foreigners registering a business

Facial recognition is being implemented as an option for foreigners seeking to register for a business license in China. According to China Daily, the streamlined process using mobile face ID scan went into effect on January 18 2024, and has reduced the time required for registration from several months to under ten minutes.

The change eliminates the need for foreign nationals applying to register foreign-funded enterprises in Beijing to supply proof of identity issued by their home country or region, or to be physically present for registration.

Previously, foreign business owners seeking a license also had the option to verify their real-name digital ID by opening a Chinese bank account.

Beijing has see-sawed from enthusiasm to reserve in its public stance on facial recognition. Last year, following a period in which the technology was embraced by China’s government, the Cyberspace Administration rolled out new rules restricting the use of facial recognition by businesses, expressing a preference for non-biometric verification methods. However, several of the rules do not apply to the use of biometric facial recognition for public-sector administrative purposes – which is to say, to the government.

In other Beijing news, the city’s municipal officials have renewed their commitment to making the Chinese capital a global exemplar for smart city technology, including AI. A China Daily report published on the Asia News Network says that at last week’s 16th Beijing Municipal People’s Congress, mayor Yin Yong pointed to the 30,000 5G bases Beijing built in 2023, emerging Internet of Things technology, and infrastructure related to automatic driving as examples of the city’s rapid and eager digitization. According to Yin, “Beijing “has about half of the country’s generative artificial intelligence large model products available for the public.”

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