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China to Pilot Facial Recognition Payment System in Shenzhen Subway

Radio France Internationale reported that, according to an article in the South China Morning Post, the Futian Metro Station in Shenzhen plans to introduce a facial recognition payment system. The pilot version of the facial recognition payment system to be operated at the Futian Station is a system in which passengers can pay for their transportation expenses through their personal account when they scan their faces on a large screen. The launch date of the system has not been disclosed. The advantage of the facial recognition system is that people can travel on the subway efficiently during the rush commuting hours. The number of people that take the Shenzhen Metro is five million per day. The facial recognition system has been put into use in all corners of Chinese society except the subway system. Radio France Internationale also quoted Pressecitron, a French media which stated that there may be technical problems in the event of a twin or body double. In addition, people’s daily routes are being recorded which causes concerns over security issues and the breach of personal information.

Source: Radio France Internationale, March 16, 2019

Largest Apple Supplier Foxconn Recorded Four Year Low on Revenue

Major Taiwanese newspaper, China Times, recently reported that Apple’s largest supplier, Foxconn, headquartered in Taiwan, just announced its February revenue numbers, which showed a month-over-month decline of 35.85 percent and a year-over-year decline of 4.39 percent. This is the lowest point in four and one-half years. Foxconn pointed out that the primary causes of the decline were the U.S.-China trade war and weak orders from Apple. According to the latest supplier list that Apple released, Foxconn remains the largest supplier with 35 manufacturing locations. Further looking into the February Foxconn report, the computing products category is still satisfactory, but consumer electronics and communications equipment were below expectations.

Source: China Times, March 8, 2019

Shanghai Residents to Be Able to Access Personal Property Info via Self-service Inquiry Terminal

According to Shanghai Municipal Planning and Resource Bureau, starting from April 1, a self-service inquiry terminal for personal property registration data will be available for the general public to use. At that time, residents can check their house and land registration information using their ID card and facial recognition feature on a self-service inquiry terminal set up in their own district. They can use the terminal or go to the municipal government’s “one stop network” platform to look up property registration, as well as location and mortgage information. At present, Xuhui District is having a pilot test of the self-service inquiry terminal.

Source: The Paper, March 3, 2019

UDN: Huawei Dismissed Australia’s Decision on 5G

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that 100 days after the Australian government announced its ban on Huawei communications technology for the country’s 5G infrastructure, Australian communications heavyweight TPG Telecom declared it would give up building 5G infrastructure on the national level entirely. TPG had invested around US$2 billion in the 5G infrastructure based on Huawei technology. It is quite amazing that a single Chinese company can have such a profound impact on a fairly sizable section of a nation’s infrastructure. The Huawei ban was a major financial setback for the company, which may take quite some time to recover. Huawei’s Vice Chairman explained that Huawei did not expect to enter all markets. He even named Australia in his comment that the entire Australian telecommunications market is smaller than the size of Guangzhou Mobile and the New Zealand market is smaller than that of his hometown – a mid-sized city in Hunan Province, so “losing a few countries really doesn’t matter.”

Source: UDN, February 21, 2019

China’s Surveillance Industry Produces New Generation of Billionaires

The Chinese surveillance industry, a network of hundreds of millions of cameras, is generating more and more tycoons. The four billionaires with the largest amount of money have total assets exceeding $12.1 billion.

Gong Hongjia, founder of Hikvision, has a net worth of 7.2 billion. Dai Lin, chairman of the board of Tiandy’s, is estimated to have a personal wealth of 1.4 billion. The other two billionaires are Fu Liquan, the chairman of Dahua Tech, and Huang Li, the head of Wuhan Guide Infrared Co.

In 2015, Dai Lin developed the industry’s first infrared-free 24-hour full-color camera and in 2016 he launched the Ultra-Low Light Box Camera, which delivers high resolution color pictures in a dark environment at 0.0008 lux illumination. Dai Lin’s facial recognition system, which was developed in 2017, can achieve a recognition accuracy of more than 90 percent.

Human rights organizations worry that China’s use of surveillance technology for big data collection is used to strengthen social control and intensify the government’s suppression of civil rights. Out of national security considerations, the U.S. government has blacklisted products from Hikvision and Dahua from official purchases.

China plans to implement a comprehensive and real time public security monitoring network by 2020. According to official data, the Chinese government’s domestic security spending in 2017 accounted for 6.1 percent of total government spending, or about 1.2 trillion yuan (US$180 billion).

Source: Central News Agency, February 23, 2019