Megvii gives a dig­i­tal mean­ing to face-read­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - DEPTH - By FANFEIFEI

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 newin­vestors.

“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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