Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma makes a speech during the official opening of the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, Germany, March 15, 2015. The world's biggest computer and software fair is open to the public from March 16-20. Reuters/Fabian Bimmer

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is working on a payment technology that uses facial recognition, founder Jack Ma said Sunday in an on-stage demonstration at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, Germany, Recode reported.

“Online payments to buy things is always a big headache,” he said. “You forget your password, you worry about security. Today we’ll show you a new technology, how in the future people will buy things online.”

On a smartphone, Ma then pressed a “buy” button, which triggered a face-recognition routine. Ma looked like he was taking a selfie, and a white outline appeared around the shape of his head, as seen in a photograph on the trade fair’s official Twitter stream.

He used the technology to buy a souvenir stamp dating back to one of Hanover’s trade fairs in 1948. Ma said the stamp would be given to the city's mayor as a gift.

The facial-recognition technology is being developed by Ant Financial, an Alibaba Group unit that Ma wants to take public in 2017, according to Recode.