China’s Hangzhou International Airport plans to become the world’s first “cashless” airport by applying cutting-edge digital technologies to its services and will use artificial intelligence to make security checks faster, the media reported on Saturday. According to a media report, the airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, will co-operate with internet firms, such as Alipay, to allow travellers to make cashless payments for services including accommodation, flights and car rentals, the Global Times reported.
The airport will also work with service providers to combine cloud computing and big data so it can offer passengers door-to-door services including ticket bookings, transportation, smart parking, shopping and catering as well as hotel bookings. It will also introduce artificial intelligence and image recognition technologies into security checks so as to increase the safety and efficiency of the process as well as reduce passenger wait times, according to the report.
A Hangzhou resident told the Global Times on Friday that she welcomes the airport experimenting with big data and cashless services. She said that with the spread of mobile payment, offering cashless services is unlikely to pose much of a challenge. She said that reducing wait times is likely to be the real test.
Online payment already has a particularly high level of penetration in Hangzhou, which is home to tech giant Alibaba Group Holding, which pioneered China’s most popular online payment tool, Alipay. Separately, Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial announced plans to spend 3 billion yuan ($435 million) each year for the next two years to create a cashless society.