Missouri-based face scanning start-up EyeVerify has been acquired by Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba.

It’s another sign of growth from Alibaba, as they look to replicate their domestic success on a global scale.

EyeVerify’s technology, Eyeprint ID, uses ordinary ‘selfies’ as a way to “protects consumers’ digital lives, including their mobile transactions,” the statement said.

According to the company, it’s easy to use, 99.99 per cent accurate and secure from imitations, the technology can tell the difference between a real person and an image or video. The technology is similar to that found in Samsung’s latest Note 7. The retina scanner that is, not the exploding battery. Although EyeVerify notes some key differences from Samsung.

While acquiring a start-up that promises to deliver a secure and intuitive payment verification system makes good business sense, others have speculated it may be a part of a grander plan.

The move is the first foray into the US market for Ant Financial and marks an attempt to gain acceptance from American merchants, which would allow Chinese consumers to use Alipay when they travel, according to Bloomberg.

The EyeVerify acquisition and its technology may help alleviate security concerns consumers would have with a new platform. While providing a key differentiator from the incumbents, Apple and Android.

Earlier this year, Ant Financial and EyeVerify entered into a licensing agreement in which Eyeprint ID was integrated into Ant Financial’s payment authentication platform. Last week’s acquisition allows the technology to be integrated into more Ant Financial products.

“The acquisition of EyeVerify is a critical part of our effort to make bold, yet thoughtful moves to continually enhance user trust, safety, and experience,” said Jason Lu, vice president of fraud risk management at Ant Financial. “It is an important extension of our efforts to accelerate the global adoption of secure mobile payments and allows us to improve our overall risk management.”

EyeVerify will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant Financial and continue to be based in Kansas City.

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