Jan 27, 2021 - Economy

China's Ant Group seeking buyer for U.S. biometric security firm EyeVerify

two microchips, one red one blue

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Ant Group, the Chinese fintech affiliate of Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), is seeking a buyer for Kansas City-based biometric security firm EyeVerify, per the Financial Times.

Why it matters: This reflects festering tech tensions between Beijing and D.C., particularly when it comes to things like facial recognition software. It's also part of Ant's efforts to generate liquidity after being forced to scrap what was to be the largest-ever IPO.

The bottom line: "EyeVerify designs eye verification technology for mobile devices which is used by U.S. banks including Wells Fargo. Ant bought EyeVerify for $100 million in 2016, a purchase which was approved by CFIUS, the panel that scrutinizes deals for potential national security risks," the Financial Times writes.

The big picture: Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt and others have called for U.S.-China tech bifurcation.

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