The massive online merchant Alibaba has its sight set on making money through facial recognition.
Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, took the stage at this year’s CeBIT in Hanover, Germany and debut his company’s plan on using selfies as a form of digital signature.
Facial recognition technology in addition to the widespread availability of the smartphone might enable Alibaba to spearhead the development of snap-and-pay. While Apple and other Internet companies like Google are pushing for tap-and-pay (via NFC or similar forms), Alibaba is taking a different route to make its mark on the evolving payment processing industry.
NFC-enabled payment processing is expected to exceed $130 billion by 2020, and that’s big business for any company that already has a presence in the digital space.
Alibaba’s control of the Chinese market makes it one of the most powerful and largest Internet companies on earth. With 1.2 billion domestic consumers within China’s borders, Ma’s platform exceeds eBay and Amazon’s annual trade combined.
China-based Alibaba might not be a major household brand overseas, but according to reports Ma intends to catapult his platform to the world stage and become a globally recognized brand like Wal-Mart, IBM and Microsoft.