Chinese facial ID firm targets Africa


China's CloudWalk Technology Co, a domestic start-up based in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Zimbabwean government on a mass facial recognition project.

Yao Zhiqiang, strategic director of CloudWalk's research and development center in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview that the company was "lucky" to gain such an order under the recommendation of the Guangzhou government.

"The Zimbabwean government did not come to Guangzhou purely for AI or facial ID technology, rather it had a comprehensive package plan for such areas as infrastructure, technology and biology," Yao said.

"With the knowledge that Chinese facial ID technology has made rapid progress over recent years, the Zimbabwean government hopes to introduce it to the country to help accelerate its modernization by partnering with leading Chinese enterprises in the IT sector," he noted.

The newspaper wrote that facial recognition is badly needed in Zimbabwe, and even across the whole of the African continent, since security protection, where the technology is widely used, plays a key role in Africa's social stability.

Due to the technological expansion taking place in Southern Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe, there is a great need and demand for facial recognition technology, said Shingi Magada, a Zimbabwean who is a cultural and business consultant working with both Zimbabwean and Chinese companies as well as the Zimbabwean government.

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