China is set to become the biggest player in facial recognition technology both as a consumer and a provider, according to research by Gen Market Insights.

By 2023, the country will have 44.59% of the global facial recognition market share, up from 29.39% in 2017.

This growth is being fuelled by rapid adoption of the technology within the country, particularly in security and banking.

Over 400 banks in the country are already making use of the technology, including the Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and China Merchants Bank.

In some areas of the country the technology is also being used to assist law enforcement, such as in Shenzen, where the technology is deployed at pedestrian crossings to catch and deter jaywalkers.

Facial recognition technology in China
A crossing in Shenzen, China, where facial recognition technology is deployed. Jaywalkers are automatically identified using the system, which then displays their face on the screen to the right of the image. They are also issued with an immediate fine.

China’s CloudWalk to lead in facial recognition technology

When it comes to manufacturers of facial recognition technology, Chinese firm CloudWalk technology leads the way, with a market share of 12.88% as of 2017.

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In second place is British provider Aurora, with a market share of 4.18%, and in third is Chinese company Insigma Group, with 3.31%.

The market itself it set to grow significantly over the next few years, as more industries and companies embrace facial recognition technology’s potential. While the market was valued at $1.07bn in 2017, by 2025 it will be worth $7.11bn, representing a compound annual growth rate of 26.8%.

With China fuelling much of this growth, this is likely to result in Chinese companies taking an ever-greater share of the market.

Concerns remain around facial recognition technology

While China is seeing significant growth in the technology, privacy concerns remain strong in many other parts of the world.

The increased use of facial recognition technology in airports, for example, has prompted concerns within the tourism industry.

Meanwhile, rising use in UK police forces coupled with a lack of government action has resulted on one expert to raise concerns about a “policy void” surrounding the technology.

The technology is proving particularly controversial in the US, where Amazon’s own shareholders called upon the company to stop selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement.