Daily Drip

Alipay Adds a Beauty Filter to its Facial Scan Payment System to Encourage More Female Users


Chinese beauty standards may be changing, but that doesn’t mean the country’s women want to look ugly when they’re paying for goods and services on their phones. Alipay, the country’s biggest mobile payment system, has been the subject of online criticism this week because its facial recognition payment option supposedly doesn’t make users look pretty enough.

The company’s response? They’re rolling out a beauty filter for the system “within the next week”.


Fairest of Them All: Meitu and Alibaba Drop Competing Skincare AI

The move came after Sina Weibo’s tech channel pointed to data that showed male adoption rates of facial scan payments on Alipay were higher than those for females. “Be honest, when you’re using the facial payment option, do you think you’re ugly?” asked the account via a poll.

After more than 40,000 people voted, the poll showed that over 60% felt the payment method made them look ugly and “not as pretty as when taking a normal photo”.

alipay facial scan payment china beauty

A couple of hours later, Alipay’s official WeChat account responded, announcing that facial scan payment systems throughout the country would be updated with a beauty filter within the next week.

Hey, maybe they can fold in their acne analyzer so you can do a quick skincare spot check while you pout and pay?

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of RADII and Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for the Associated Press, The Wire, the Financial Times and more.

Sign up for our newsletter and

be the first to experience our new site!

Congrats! You'll be the first to know!