Ant Financial has rolled out the world's first commercial application of a payment system that identifies payers using facial recognition technology; starting from September 1, a KFC restaurant in Hangzhou allows customers to authenticate their payments by having their faces scanned; the whole process, which takes about ten seconds, does not require users to take out their cell phones; the function is powered by Face ++ technology developed by Beijing startup Megvii. Source
While the Chinese have been quickly adopting fintech in recent years it has come at a cost to the consumer; the Chinese government is able to view troves of information as payment apps like Alipay and WeChat Pay now need to pass through the central bank; not only in fintech but other areas of tech innovation, like facial recognition, has been a boon to the government; while apps and services are making lives simpler and more efficient, they can also help to make government intrusion a lot easier. Source.
The Shenzhen Securities Regulatory Bureau issued the year’s first fund sales license to Tencent Holdings; the company will operate as Teng An Fund Sales; WeChat adds a police certified facial recognition technology as part of a pilot program they hope to roll out to all of China in late January; some loans on HNA’s p2p platform JBH have dealt with deferred payments a since November. Source.
Ping An Insurance Group is China’s largest insurer and one of its biggest financial conglomerates; the company has become a...
Facial recognition startup Megvii Face++ raised $460mn in their most recent investment round led by China State-Owned Venture Capital Fund and the China-Russia Investment Fund; Ant Financial was also involved in the round and the company did not disclose valuation, though their most recent round valued the company at $1.5bn; Face++ uses facial recognition to identity people and counts Ant Financial and the Chinese government as two of their biggest clients. Source.
Not only has Ping An been investing in technology but has also started selling technology in areas of online banking, facial recognition, asset management and more; according to Deputy Chief Executive Officer Jessica Tan in an interview with Bloomberg the company wants to get half their earnings from technology; while competition from Tencent and Alibaba is stiff the company believes the combination of data and offline resources can give their products an edge; after seeing presentations in recent months analysts have started raising price targets on the company. Source.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 is marketed as having a better camera and can take clear pictures in low light; the technology could solve one of the bigger facial recognition issues which is poor quality pictures in low lighting; thus far banks have been slow to adopt the new technology as they have yet to be comfortable wit the way it currently works; with Samsung and Apple continuing to improve their cameras and a younger generation of customers increasing, facial recognition will soon be an important piece for all banks. Source.
Last week there was a call from 40 consumer advocacy groups that facial recognition technology should be banned, starting with...