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Alibaba launches ‘smile to pay’ facial recognition system at KFC in China

Redefining the term "happy meal", fast food fanatics in China now just need to flash their smiles to earn their dinner.

Alibaba's Ant Financial has teamed up with KFC in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou to debut its news "smile to pay" service.

Pedestrians walk past a Yum! Brands' KFC restaurant in Shanghai.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Pedestrians walk past a Yum! Brands' KFC restaurant in Shanghai.

The service allows customers to process their payment simply by smiling after placing their order at one of the fast food restaurant's self-serve screens.

A 3-D camera then scans the customer's face to verify their identity. An additional phone number verification option is available for added security.

An Alibaba employee demonstrates 'Smile to Pay', an automatic payment system that authorize payment via facial recognition
Alex Wong | Staff | Getty Images
An Alibaba employee demonstrates 'Smile to Pay', an automatic payment system that authorize payment via facial recognition

The technology is available to customers registered to the Alipay app – the mobile and online payment platform established in Hangzhou by Alibaba's founder Jack Ma.

KFC was targeted for the debut as it is a subsidiary of Yum China, one of Alibaba's major investments.

The launch sits in line with Yum China's plans to attract a younger generation of customers.

Joey Wat, Yum China's president, said the store was aimed at "young, tech savvy consumers who are keen to embrace new tastes and innovations," according to Reuters.

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