Chinese digital ID will merge with smartphone-based payments in a project scheduled to roll out soon. The project, which also involves facial recognition, will put the country’s all-important and mandatory national identification card inside Alibaba’s payment app.
The Alibaba digital ID project incorporates facial recognition and covers smartphone users in the cities of Quzhou, Fuzhou and Hangzhou
The move follows a similar program that weds digital ID with WeChat, the social messaging app designed and operated by China-based Tencent.
According to Abacusnews.com, the Alibaba digital ID project covers smartphone users in the cities of Quzhou, Fuzhou and Hangzhou. Alibaba is an expanding, China-based giant of e-commerce and related services. The digital ID will reside in the company’s Alipay payment’s app. Launched in 2004, it now stands as the world’s largest mobile payment platform.
To register for Alipay, users must provide their real name and national ID card number, which initiates the process to store the national ID on the app. “To create a digital ID, users can simply select ‘Web ID’ under ‘Card Wallet’ and scan their faces,” the report says.
Chinese digital ID via Alipay will help residents complete a variety of daily tasks
It was not immediately clear if residents in those three cities where the Chinese digital ID will soon take place would be required to store digital versions of the national IDs on the Alipay payment app. But residents must carry their national ID at times. It is used for a variety of tasks that require authentication. For this pilot, Alipay users will be able to use their digital national IDs for such tasks as taking public transit, checking into hotels and accessing pension services, according to Abacusnews.com.
This Alibaba effort comes after China and WeChat began testing a similar project. Residents of the Nansha district of Guangzhou, a southern port city of some 13.5 million that serves as the capital of Guangdong province, can use smartphones and facial recognition technology to link their national ID cards with their WeChat accounts. The project is set for a national rollout, according to reports.
WeChat has some 980 million active monthly users. And the vast majority of WeChat users are Chinese citizens, according to the latest figures from Tencent. Alipay says it has 520 million users.