Quite a number.
Photograph by Sam Yeh — AFP/Getty Images
By Ben Geier
March 16, 2015

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is working on facial recognition software that would let you pay for purchases just by looking at a screen.

Alibaba is calling the service “Smile to Pay,” according to CNBC. CEO Jack Ma demonstrated a beta version of the technology Sunday at CeBit, a major annual international technology conference in Hanover, Germany.

Several top technology companies, including Apple, Google and Samsung, are all trying to crack mobile payment problems. Most of the options currently available are phone or wearable-based, with customers holding a gadget near a retailer’s register to complete transactions.

Alibaba is experimenting with several measures to improve the security of its system, including the use of a trigger phrase or scanning some unique element of a shopper’s body, like a tattoo.

There’s no release date for the service yet.

Alibaba reported revenue of $4.22 billion in January, a 40% hike but below analysts’ expectations of $4.45 billion. The company has also come under pressure from Chinese state regulators to deal with what they say are illegal transactions on the company’s eBay-like platform.

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