China is seeing a rise in social, review-based cosmetic surgery apps. Unlike the previous wave of simulator options, these apps provide a colourful feedback platform complete with live consultation, pricing and photographs. The new products aim to remove the final hurdle between consumers and hospitals in China: the expansive knowledge gap.

In contrast with their regional neighbour South Korea, cosmetic surgery in China is still widely perceived as a fringe indulgence. Sensationalist reports of collapsed facial surgeries often circle on Sina Weibo, and cosmetic app developers themselves have admitted the industry is hazardous. However they believe the only thing standing between consumers and safe surgery is a lack of reliable information.

Notable new player, app Zhen Youmei (“Very Beautiful”), made its market entry in January this year. Founder Jiang Zhi is a serial entrepreneur who started out in the advertising industry. In 2008 he co-founded China’s biggest demand-side platform advertising network, Pin You Hudong. Three years later, he established Daye Shengde, a messaging marketing operator. In late 2013, Jiang Zhi made the move to health and cosmetics, and by early 2014, both iOS and Android versions of Zhen Youmei were on the market.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com