Meitu’s AI technology stirs up Spring Festival fervor

In the Spring Festival, the most celebrated festivity in China, Chinese give each other gift money wrapped in red paper bags after new year greetings like “Happy New Year!” or “Wish you a prosperous new year!”. In recent years, this thousand-year-old custom is changing. It is now more than a cultural tradition but also a good opportunity for companies to showcase their state-of-the-art technology and attract more users.

Since WeChat started to offer digital gift money services in 2014, Chinese Internet giants used AI (artificial intelligence), AR (augmented reality) and other technologies to develop diverse ways of giving gift money. Alipay launched “Five Lucky Cards Collection” and WeChat worked with enterprises to give gift money to its users during the Spring Festival.


What is different this year is that some newcomers join the war of gift money service providers. Meitu, an image processing app, is among the new competitors. It launched an activity called “winning gift money with face score” for the upcoming festival. Clicking “black technology” (futuristic technology) in the app, you can take a selfie and turn it into a portrait using the painting robot function. And AI calculates the user’s facial attractiveness according to the portrait and the user can get gift money according to the rating.


Debuted on 15 February, the activity attracted many users, and two million yuan for the Spring Festival was claimed very rapidly. The seemingly simple game involves the cutting-edge deep learning technology. To rate users’ appearance more objectively, the app has analyzed more than one million sets of image data and user feedbacks to understand aesthetic trends.

From Alipay’s AR gift money to Meitu’s AI gift money, every Chinese New Year sees new variations of the tradition. Maybe gift money technology will become the best indicator of the development of technologies like AI in China.

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