Chinese business news site Yicai reports that Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial's “ubiquitous mobile payment platform Alipay has launched its latest facial recognition tool and said it plans to spend CNY3 billion ($448 million) promoting the new system across China.”
Alipay has launched Dragonfly 2 (蜻蜓2代 qīngtíng èrdài), a portable point of sales (POS) device that costs 1,999 yuan ($298), nearly 30 percent less than the previous version. That price is being discounted during a “pre-sale period” to bring the price down to just 1,199 yuan ($179).
There are free POS devices from competitors, so Alipay is offering an incentive of up to 1,200 yuan if vendors process a certain amount of payments, which would cover the cost of the device. Yicai says the funds used for these incentives “are included in the product's 3 billion yuan promotion plan.”
Vendors in 300 cities already useDragonfly 1, Alipay’s first-generation facial scanner released last December, according to the company.
Dragonfly 2 is an upgrade to the cameraand software, which should make the device more reliable, and able to work in various lighting conditions.
500,000 people have been employed in “production, installation and commissioning since last year,” according to Alipay statements.
The average annual salary for staff who “commission and install” facial scanning equipment is 150,000 yuan ($22,360) to 200,000 yuan ($29,830), according to Yicai.