Alipay will soon add beauty filters to its facial-recognition payment systems all across China, according to reports.
Chinese consumers are among the most avid users of beauty filters on messaging apps, and also the third-largest users of plastic surgery.
The initiative is called “Smile to Pay” and Alipay is hoping that it will boost usage among female users.
Alipay announced it was adding the filters after a poll in the country showed that 60 percent of people felt ugly when they scanned their faces into facial recognition technology. Less than 10 percent said they think they look the same, and 27 percent said they were more worried about the payment function than how they looked on the screen.
“I have noticed you guys think I made you look ugly. Alipay will roll out beautifying filters for all of its offline facial-recognition payment systems within a week’s time: be ware you’ll then look even better than in a beauty camera!” the official social media account for Alipay said.
Inside the system, unretouched photos will still be used, but the displayed photo will be a beautified one. The company also said it’s going to incorporate those filters into its mobile app as well.
The use of beauty filters in China is so common that there’s a special name for it: internet celebrity face. Alipay started using facial recognition tech in 2017 and say it has more than 1 billion users. The company’s biggest competitor is WeChat Pay, which reached a billion users last year. Many merchants use an Alipay device called “Dragon Fly” to make payments using facial recognition technology.
China’s push for facial recognition technology has made it one of the fastest countries to start using it in everyday life. People in China can use the tech to dispense toilet paper and catch jaywalkers, but there are also several privacy concerns.