Users of Alipay, China’s top mobile payment solution provider, can now make purchases by scanning their faces with the bezel-free iPhone X.

Alipay announced on November 28 that iPhone X’s Face ID has become available on its latest version. The payment giant’s arch-rival WeChat Pay already started implementing Face ID into its payment system shortly after iPhone X’s China release last month. The most common payment authentification methods have been passwords and fingerprints.

The much anticipated face recognition payment technology, however, has not saved Apple from its tanking sales in China. iPhone is losing its charm as a symbol of status amongst the Chinese middle class as Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and Xiaomi are making quality phones at more affordable price tags.

“Compared to several years ago, I think the iPhone may be less of a status symbol, but that all depends on who you talk to,” said Jessica Rap, Senior Writer at Jing Daily which follows China’s luxury market.

Despite the cold response from consumers, the Chinese press and social media saw a buzz around the face recognition technology since its debut. Discussions range from how safe Face ID is, to the tongue-in-cheek inquiry into whether Face ID is capable of distinguishing between two twins.

Alipay first revealed its face recognition payment solution during the Singles Day shopping spree on November 11 last year. Face recognition has also won the hearts of the government as the technology enables a more efficient nation-wide surveillance system.

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.

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