However, some researchers said it was unclear when the system would be completed, as the development was encountering many difficulties due to the technical limits of facial recognition technology and the large population base.
At present, similar systems operate on a smaller level, including police databases and city or provincial ID pools.
The 1.3 billion-person facial recognition system is being developed by Isvision, a security company based in Shanghai.
Fan and colleagues tested the facial recognition algorithm developed by Tsinghua University, a world-leading institute in this field of research, and they were disappointed with the results.
The system developed by Isvision will use an algorithm developed by SeetaTech, a start-up established by several researchers from the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.