China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has recently launched the world’s first facial recognition payment technology at a KFC restaurant in Hangzhou, signifying that China has taken the lead in the commercial use of the technology, Workers’ Daily reported on Sept.13.
It takes approximately 10 seconds for a costumer to pay their bill using the facial recognition service, greatly increasing payment efficiency.
CNBC, Reuters, Yahoo News, and other Western media outlets praised China for taking the lead and putting the technology into commercial use.
Data shows that the market size of the facial recognition industry in China exceeded 1 billion RMB ($153.3 million) in 2016, and is estimated to reach 5.1 billion RMB by 2021.
However, many factors from the amount of light and to different angles influence the accuracy of the technology, so this mode of payment cannot be the only way for user authentication right now, said Liu Yunhuai, an expert at the third Research Institute of China’s Ministry of Public Security.
In addition, the future of the payment service still depends on safety assessments by supervision departments, and the aided validation process limits its convenience, so it is difficult to promote the application of the technology widely, Li Junhui, a researcher at the China Institute of Political Science and Law, noted.
Despite various difficulties in promoting the service, Liu says that this mode of payment still has a bright future, as it is based on the data of users’ facial information and the application of artificial intelligence.