Alipay parent Ant Financial was among a group of companies to increase investments in Megvii Technology, the company behind Alipay’s Smile to Pay technology, during a $460 million funding round.
Reuters reported the payments company joined Foxconn and the Chinese state venture capital investment fund leading the round, which also saw several smaller investors take part.
Megvii – also known as Face++ – developed the Alipay Smile to Pay system which is currently in operation on a trial basis at a small number of retail outlets in China. The technology uses a 3D camera to detect facial features and verify payment.
Biometric authentication technology has been talked-up by representatives from Ant Financial and affiliate Alibaba for several years, as the companies look for a secure and more convenient alternative to passwords.
During September 2016, Ant Financial acquired US eye verification technology company EyeVerify for a sum reported to be over $100 million.
At a UK payment industry event earlier this month, EMEA business development director Tao Tao confirmed the company was making “big investments” in iris recognition technology, in addition to its facial recognition trials and investigations of other biometric tools including fingerprint scanning.