Alipay Rolls Out AI Tool to Help Detect Hair Loss

Alipay, the dominant mobile wallet provider in China, has unveiled an artificial-intelligence (AI)-based mini app that can help people detect whether they are balding. One simply uploads four images of their head in order to be assessed for balding.

This mini app marks yet another way that the mobile payment giant is seeking to further entrench itself in many aspects of people’s lives so that it isn’t viewed as simply a mobile payment channel.

To use the app, one takes four photos covering the sides, top and front of the head. One then uploads these photos, and the AI system conducts an assessment. The app can also advise users to seek medical advice if the situation it detects warrants such a step.

Ant Group, the fintech wing of Alibaba Group Holdings, owns Alipay. The mini app leverages the Antbrayer model developed with image- and language-recognition capabilities. The company says this AI app was based off of real-life data from thousands of actual people.

According to a national survey that was conducted in China in 2020, approximately 250 million Chinese have had issues connected to hair loss, and Ant’s app has taken the population by storm. Unhealthy lifestyle, heightened levels of stress and widespread pollution have contributed to an uptick in hair loss among the country’s younger population.

The mini app’s project manager, Cai Kefa, says this tool uses reliable science to warn those who are at risk of becoming bald or have started losing hair. The timely knowledge can help affected individuals to seek the right intervention instead of wasting time on superstitious remedies, such as applying ginger to their scalps, Kefa asserts.

Ant Group revealed that this mini app was developed as a joint effort by hair-loss specialists at a Hangzhou-based hospital and a team from Ant Group. Hangzhou is within the province of Zhejiang, where Ant Group is also based.

Shuai Juncong is one contented user of the app who says that he found the advice helpful. He added that he would recommend this tool to others because the app is user friendly given that one only needs to take four photos in order to get assessed.

The hair-loss detection mini app isn’t the company’s first foray into the healthcare space. In April, the company launched an AI health assistant that can perform many tasks, including recommending which medical specialties users need to consider to address the issues they face. The assistant also updates users who are queuing to see their doctors.

Alipay has leveraged its position as one of the market leaders in China’s mobile payments system, and this is helping the company deepen its reach in various verticals. Its success shows the different roles that mobile payments providers such as FingerMotion Inc. (NASDAQ: FNGR) can play in the communities where they operate.

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