​Alipay debuts electronic identity card pilot in three Chinese cities

Alipay has begun a pilot program for its users to receive an electronic identity card via its app that can be used in Zhangzhou, Hangzhou, and Fuzhou.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Alipay has rolled out an electronic identity (ID) card certified by the government in three cities in China, the company has announced.

Users of the mobile payment app can receive an ID card, certified by the Ministry of Public Security, after facial recognition authentication and use it just like a physical card for certain services in the cities of Zhangzhou, Hangzhou, and Fuzhou.

The ID card will have a two dimensional code that can be scanned for verification and will be valid for certain administration services, hotel check-ins, and ticket purchases. 4 million users are expected to use it within a year.

Alipay said the ID card can only be used after fingerprint or facial recognition, and that its facial recognition had an accuracy of 99.99 percent.

China is promoting its so-called "Internet + Government" initiative to roll out one-stop services that use the internet to increase convenience.

Ant Financial Services, which manages Alipay and is an affiliate company of Alibaba, said it will widen the availability and service range if feedback of the pilot is positive.

Alipay is the biggest mobile payment platform in China and is competing with Tencent's WeChat Pay for dominance there.

The two are also competing globally. Last year in November, Alipay announced a partnership with Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC).

Alipay and Tencent have previously partnered with payments processor Stripe, giving Chinese digital wallets access to Stripe's merchant base in more than 25 countries.

Ant Financial also invested $200 million in South Korean counterpart Kakao Pay last year.


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