Pay by face: Jack Ma’s new frontier

Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma has shocked the IT world by demonstrating technology allowing shoppers to ‘pay by face’.

The concept is simple: using facial recognition technology consumers can have their face scanned to prove their identity and settle for goods they’ve purchased when shopping online on their smartphone.

Alibaba news service Alizila describes the technology as “what might be a mobile-tech match made in heaven: selfies and online-payment security”.

Ma unveiled the concept, still under development by Alibaba Group researchers, after a presentation at the opening ceremony for CeBIT, the annual IT and business expo in Hannover, Germany.

The demonstration is included in this full length video of his presentation – fast forward to the 1:17:45 mark to watch the short pay by face section.

As the smartphone increasingly becomes the digital tool of choice for the average Chinese, eCommerce giant Alibaba Group has been pushing the development of several technologies that make it easier and more secure to shop using mobile devices.

“Online payment to buy things is always a big headache,” Ma said in a Steve Jobs-like “one more thing” moment following his keynote speech.

“You forget your password, you worry about the securities… today we show you a new technology in the future how people can buy things online.”

As yet, there is no word from Alibaba on when Ma’s beta version will be ready for prime time testing.



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