What happened: Alibaba and L’Oréal said at the Viva Technology Paris 2019 tech expo on Friday that they are offering an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered acne analysis application dubbed Effaclar Spotscan. Based on 6,000 scientific images of acne skin collected by L’Oréal, Alibaba’s AI scientists used deep learning to create a neural network model for acne testing that detects the link between visual information from a user’s selfie and the type of acne. Based on this analysis, the app provides personalized advice and skin care recommendations to treat acne lesions. The service will debut on the Tmall and Taobao mobile apps in June 2019. Alibaba told TechNode that it is providing the technology for the partnership, developed by the DAMO Academy, Alibaba’s AI and machine-learning lab.
Why it’s important: Despite a cooling economy, there’s no sign of slowing down in China’s beauty industry thanks to the rise of the millennial generation as well as the rapid expansion of the middle class. To tap the trend, Chinese tech firms are applying cutting-edge technologies to address beauty issues either through the development of software or smart hardware. In a similar initiative, Chinese beautifying filter app Meitu is developing skin condition-analyzing services based on photos from the users. For smart hardware, Meitu has launched professional-grade home skin analysis and cleansing devices. Meanwhile, Alibaba rolled out a voice-activated mirror for China’s tech-savvy female customers this March.