Smile to pay: Alibaba launches facial recognition system at KFC in China | What’s Up China

By Karen Gilchrist (CNBC)

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Redefining the term “happy meal”, fast food fanatics in China now just need to flash their smiles to earn their dinner.

Alibaba’s Ant Financial has teamed up with KFC in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou to debut its news “smile to pay” service.

The service allows customers to process their payment simply by smiling after placing their order at one of the fast food restaurant’s self-serve screens.

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An Alibaba employee demonstrates ‘Smile to Pay’, an automatic payment system that authorize payment via facial recognition (Getty Images)

A 3-D camera then scans the customer’s face to verify their identity. An additional phone number verification option is available for added security.

The technology is available to customers registered to the Alipay app – the mobile and online payment platform established in Hangzhou by Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma.

KFC was targeted for the debut as it is a subsidiary of Yum China, one of Alibaba’s major investments.

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A lady trying to pay her bill via facial recognition system (Getty Images)

The launch sits in line with Yum China’s plans to attract a younger generation of customers.

Joey Wat, Yum China’s president, said the store was aimed at “young, tech savvy consumers who are keen to embrace new tastes and innovations,” according to Reuters.

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