Alibaba Joins FIDO Alliance Board of Directors

Today, the FIDO Alliance has announced that Alibaba, the mobile and online commerce company behind Alipay, has become a member of the consortium’s board of directors. This announcement comes less than a week after the news that Alipay will be implementing a FIDO Ready payment option using the Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint sensor.

“Our many businesses and services are enriched by authentication that creates a better and more reliable user experience, as well as insightful risk management,” comments Ni Liang, Alibaba Group’s senior director in the company’s department of security. “We look forward to participating on the FIDO Alliance board, and assuring that commerce and authentication are uniquely cooperative and seamlessly compatible.”

Alipay now joins PayPal as one of the first companies in the world to deploy FIDO’s protocol in securing payments. PayPal is one of the Alliance’s founding members and, in conjunction with the Galaxy S5’s introduction at this year’s Mobile World Congress, it announced that the Synaptics fingerprint sensor on the Samsung phone would allow users to make payments via fingerprint biometrics.

FIDO president Michael Barrett says that Alibaba’s addition to the Alliance’s board is an important milestone for the organization thanks to the payment company’s local and global influence (Alipay boasts over 100 million users).

“The board will benefit greatly from Alibaba’s experience and influence throughout Asia,” says Barrett. “Pivotal organizations, like Alibaba, can rapidly impact adoption of FIDO authentication by facilitating strong authentication for its hundreds of millions of users. We enthusiastically welcome Alibaba to the FIDO Alliance board, and we anticipate their important influence on the first industry standards for universal strong authentication: FIDO standards.”

Earlier in September, Alibaba announced another biometric payment deployment for Alipay. The mobile wallet is included in the newest flagship smartphone from Huawei, the Ascend Mate 7. Huawei’s newest device is the first Android smartphone to feature a capacitive touch sensor. Ascend Mate 7 users that subscribe to Alipay can authenticate using the sensor to authorize payments online and at point of sale.