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CKI forms JV to capture biometrics market

July 30, 2001 - Hong Kong - Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (CKI) has formed a joint venture with Coulomb Holdings Ltd to capture the booming biometrics market. Named bioSecure Systems Limited (bioSecure), the joint venture has been awarded distributorships for facial recognition and fingerprint matching technologies.

bioSecure signed a master distributor agreement today with Canadian listed imaging-based software company, Imagis Technologies Inc (Imagis), to promote, distribute and support Imagis' line of law enforcement and biometric facial recognition products across Asia Pacific. Earlier, bioSecure has also obtained exclusive distributorship for the fingerprint matching technology developed by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and has been actively developing business opportunities for such technology in Mainland China. It is bioSecure's plans to continue to form partnerships with technology companies around the world to capture the biometrics security solutions market in Asia Pacific.

The facial recognition technology that will be promoted and distributed by bioSecure are the Computerized Arrest and Booking System (CABS) and the ID-2000 facial recognition software development kit developed by Imagis, the leading facial recognition solution provider in the world. These products have been installed in numerous police departments in the United States (particularly California), Canada (where it is the dominant such system in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), Mexico and Europe. The versatility and flexibility of ID-2000 allow software developers to easily incorporate the facial recognition programme into concerned applications, be it the physical access system, surveillance system in casinos, identity verification system in checkpoints like airports, and even the facilitating of locating missing persons. As there is great demand for this type of technology for law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong and Mainland China, bioSecure intends to devise a simplified Chinese version of the CABS system for the market.

The fingerprint matching technology awarded to bioSecure bears a higher level of security in regards to protecting confidential and private information as compared to those of traditional technology. bioSecure plans to incorporate this technology into smart cards for the development of highly secured and multi-functional smart cards for identity authentication in Internet transactions, credit card payment, and ID verification. This solution is to meet the needs of business and government institutions and is to be applied to a wide range of platforms, such as B2B and B2C transactions in e-banking and e-commerce; government licences applications, building access, attendance recording etc.

Facial recognition and fingerprint matching are important technologies in biometric security solutions. Other technologies include retina, palm and voice recognition. According to research report on the world's total earnings derived from biometrics technology in 1999, 34% came from fingerprint identification, 26% from palm identification, and 15% from face recognition. As technology advances, the biometrics market is expected to continue to expand and grow globally. The annual growth rate of the biometrics market is forecast to exceed 60% in the next one to two years, and the market potential is estimated to reach US$1.8 billion in 2004.

Mr H L Kam, Group Managing Director of CKI, said, "CKI has always been actively developing infrastructure and infrastructure-related businesses, and has been looking for new grounds; electronic infrastructure is one of the new developments. To complement the rapid development of technology in the 21st century, the Group has extended our business areas from traditional infrastructure to hi-tech industries. Developing products and applications from biometric solutions fits in well with our strategy. The securing of two distributorships by bioSecure in a short span of time has given us testament that a right direction has been adopted."

Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited is a constituent stock of the Hang Seng Index. It is the largest diversified infrastructure company listed in Hong Kong in terms of market capitalization. The Group's three core businesses are energy, transportation and infrastructure materials and infrastructure-related businesses, with investments spanning the Mainland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia and Canada.


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