China is aiming to be a global leader in facial recognition technology.
One store in Beijing is transforming the way customers shop.
CGTN’s Jane Kiyo explains how.
It has the all the hallmarks of a regular convenience store.
But shopping at this shop in Beijing is far from routine — you don’t need your wallet, just your face.
“After scanning your face, the system is able to determine who you are, what your Jingdong account is and your payment details,” explained Zhang Zhitong who works in public relations at JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce firm. “When you are leaving, the camera will scan you again and automatically deduct payment from your account.”
1.4 billion faces are stored on China’s national databases which makes facial recognition a potent tool for security services.
But it’s in big demand too in banking and retail.
Shoppers merely sign up to a JD.com account, via their smartphone.
Once they’ve been verified, they can shop freely — there are no queues, nor cashiers.
Payments are deducted from their account, as they leave the store.
Cameras track customers and scanners track what they’re buying so restocking is more efficient. Labor costs are very low.
“So we are using this technology to empower and transform the traditional offline retail model,” said Zhang. “Actually, Jingdong wants to do these things, mainly because of how we see ourselves. In the era of unbounded retail, we are the service providers of infrastructure.”
So far JD.com has six stores using facial recognition. The company is convinced more and more customers are buying into the idea.
JD believes this is the future of retail shopping. It wants to push the limits further by opening more and even larger unmanned stores in China and around the world.”
James Sung discusses China’s embrace of facial recognition tech
China is aiming to be a global leader in facial recognition technology, with public and private companies trying to transform how people interact with the world. James Sung, chief strategist at Zocus Strategic Marketing, discusses with CGTN’s Mike Walter.