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Megvii gives a digital meaning to face-reading

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-12 08:24

Megvii gives a digital meaning to face-reading

A bank clerk demonstrates cash withdrawal from an ATM that uses the facial recognition technology, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Su Yang/For China Daily]

Megvii Technology Inc, an internet startup focused on face recognition technology, is planning to expand the application into the financial and security sectors.

Its core product Face++, which was launched in 2012 as China's first cloud-based facial recognition platform, offers three core services including detection, recognition and analysis.

The company has finished a $100 million fundraising from investors, including CCB International Holdings Ltd and Foxconn Technology Group. Investors in the latest round also included some that participated in previous funding.

"The money will be used to further the research and development of deep learning and machine vision, as well as expansion into the fields of finance and security. We will increase investment in artificial intelligence and the internet of things," said Megvii's co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Yin Qi.

The company will also explore the commercial market of intelligent robotics with new investors.

"Facial recognition is a safe verification method that can be applied in various areas such as car rental, shopping, financial services and online-to-offline services where personal information, pass codes or transactions are involved," said Yin.

Yin added that the technology is fairly mature at present and just needs to be optimized in certain scenarios.

Face++ has upgraded into an open AI platform that shares the company's most advanced computing and programming technology to app developers for free.

In 2015, Face++ and Ant Financial Services Group, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, jointly developed Smile to Pay, a payment method that allows customers to make a purchase by simply scanning their face.

Its facial recognition technology has already been widely applied by domestic technology companies. Selfie app developer Meitu Inc uses it to track facial features. Alipay, the mobile payment service of Alibaba, is also relying on it to allow users to log onto the app with a facial scan.

China Mobile Communications Corp and Sinovation Ventures have applied Megvii's facial recognition technology into their entrance system to enhance security. Major banks and internet financial platforms are working with Megvii to establish bank accounts online through facial scans.

Megvii also offers facial scan technology for the Ministry of Public Security that covers 1.3 billion people in China, to help the authority verify demographic information.

Yin said technology companies in the AI industry wouldn't survive by just depending on one technology.

"They have to do more and step out of their comfort zones and learn to connect various industries with AI technology," Yin said.

Megvii plans to be listed in the future, he said.

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