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China-made ball-sized camera to give video streamers the make-over they have been pouting for

As the audience reach for China’s fast-growing live streaming video industry widens, one Shenzhen-based start-up has developed a device to that enhances people’s looks in real time when broadcasting their lives to the web.

The company will launch the camera in November. The camera, which uses an independently developed chipset to handle the processing, is the size of a table-tennis ball and is designed for young Chinese obsessed with posting “beautified” selfies on social media.

More than just a good selfie tool, the device perform real-time removal of blemishes, makes faces slimmer, whitens skin and enlarges the eyes all in real time as they hold live broadcasts, said Nick Hui, who comes from Hong Kong and is the founder of the company.

“The device will be the first of its kind on the market,” Hui said. “Using it to live stream, you will appear more beautiful than usual. This is a must-have function for those broadcasting live videos and messages to their followers,” he said.

Hui said the device’s onboard chip – which was designed in-house – carries out its image processing on every frame of video being broadcast – usually 30 frames per second – through a patented algorithm that also conducts facial recognition, as well as complexion improvements, face slimming and eye brightening.

The device can be mounted to any smartphone model or it can be used alone and stuck to any surface, such as walls and doors, using a silica gel on the camera’s rear.

The camera also uses inbuilt Wi-fi to connect to smartphones via a proprietary app, which allows streaming or output of video to the phone.

The live-streaming industry began to flourish in China last year. Since then, countless young Chinese internet users are dreaming of becoming cyber-celebrities via their regular live streams where they sing, tell jokes or give make-up tips.

According to mainland media, there are 116 live-streaming apps available for smartphones on the mainland, 108 of which have successfully secured financing. The size of the market is estimated to reach 100 billion yuan by 2020, according to a report by Huachuang Securities.

Through social media and live-streaming sites, China’s internet celebrities are forecast to generate 58 billion yuan in revenue this year, exceeding the 44 billion yuan collected in ticket sales at the country’s cinemas last year.

Pretty young women or amateur musicians across the country have found a new way to monetise their talents as tens of thousands of adoring fans watch their performances via live webcams on their home computers.

“I think looking good has become a top priority for most of them, especially young females, to make their dreams come true and attract more followers online,” said Xu Wanwan, a 23-year-old Shanghai resident whose live online performances have attracted a fanbase of about 330,000 followers.