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Virtual cosmetics counters are the future

Soon it be much easier to find the perfect lipstick colour and sunglasses to match your face shape, and the best part is you won’t even have to leave home.

China is on the cusp of a major shake-up in online shopping technology to makes the virtual change room and cosmetics counter a reality.

Gone will be the days of buying the wrong colour or style of clothing, accessories or make-up and by the hassle of posting back returns.

At the Shanghai Zizhu entrepreneurial incubator, Olivia Wan demonstrates how online video technology can allow customers to choose sunglasses and experiment with different lippy shades.

Purple, pink and red lip colours, flash across the video footage of shoppers standing in front of the screen.

On another screen, the technology measures the faces of shoppers and suggests styles of glasses.

In China, there’s insatiable appetite for shopping.

In some cities such as Shanghai, which have populations equivalent of Australia crammed into one metropolitan area, the sardine factor of malls and shopping strips is high.

“With the use of technology we want to make people more beautiful,” Wan, Shanghai Beauty Face Internet Technology Company chief operating officer, told AAP through a interpreter.

According to global consulting firm McKinsey and Company, China’s online retail market is the world’s largest with an estimated $US630 billion ($A830 billion) in sales in 2015.

The online market is 80 per cent bigger than the US and accounts for 13.5 per cent of all spending.

Meanwhile, in the high-tech zone of neighbouring city Hangzhou, a visit to the display room of HIK Vision, a leading camera and surveillance company, is almost like being on the set of the US mystery drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

The potential of some of the gadgets is slightly unnerving but staff insist they just create the products and its completely up to customers how they is used.

In one corner a screen shows footage of people on bikes, in cars and pedestrians. Other boxes reveal their gender, height, estimated age, whether they are wearing seat belts, carrying bags and car number plates.

In the post September 11 security conscious climate, governments are likely to be big customers.

The company has supplied surveillance technology for events such as Olympic Games, Soccer World Cups and global leaders summits.

Another display terminal shows an intricate revolving sphere of people’s faces and their email trails.

*The reporter travelled to China on a delegation hosted by the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs.


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