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Alibaba to run trial of facial recognition payment at KFC in China

Alibaba's Alipay is trialing a facial recognition payment system in KFC in China

Alibaba Group's online payment platform Alipay has announced that it is trailing facial recognition payments in a KFC concept restaurant in China.

The new, healthy-food restaurant is called KPRO and will be situated in Hangzhou, with 'Smile to Pay' services implemented in the design.

Alipay users will be able to authenticate their payment by a combination of facial scanning and inputting their mobile phone number into the service, meaning there is no need for credit or debit cards.

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Ant Financial - the most valuable fintech company in the world - is an affiliate of Alibaba and said that the facial recognition technology has "reached a level of accuracy of security that should be users at ease."

"Smile to Pay provides convenience for users like never before, but we have always placed security at the core of this technology," commented Jidong Chen, Ant Financial’s director of biometric identification technology.

Using state-of-the-art 3D cameras, a multistep process scans the facial features of the payee and uses a "live-ness detection algorithm" to block photos or videos.

Originally unveiled in 2015 by Jack Ma, Smile to Pay then demoed again in January 2017 at the Consumer Electronics Show.

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