Selfies are a global phenomenon, of course, but Asian markets might be ahead of the curve, in everything from users' embrace of the phenomenon to marketing campaigns to selfie-inspired technology.
In China, selfie touch-up apps have been popular for years, and social media feeds are full of photos of women with enlarged eyes, slimmed-down jawlines and whitened skin, a widely-coveted look. Now China's social networks are buzzing about Primo, a Japanese app that claims to un-doctor selfies to reveal what people really look like -- though some users complained that all it really does is make people's faces fatter and eyes smaller.
In Thailand, a woman who goes by "mortao maotor" has nearly 16,000 Instagram posts, almost all selfies. (Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, has logged only 2,220 Instagram posts total.) And after Thailand's coup early this year, people poured into the streets for self-portraits with soldiers. "In Thailand, Martial Law Is a Backdrop for Selfies," was the headline on Mashable.
Other intriguing trends: In Japan, women in the gyaru fashion subculture began tilting their heads down during self-portraits to hide their faces (to better spotlight their over-the-top hair and nails?) In China, a contest for women showing self-portraits featuring their armpit hair went viral, possibly in a backlash to all the glamour shots filling the country's social media.
Finally, selfies have driven smartphone technology, with Asia's top brands competing on the specs of their front-facing cameras: China's Huawei applied for trademarks on the term "groufie" to designate group selfies, while South Korea's Samsung embraced the competing term "wefie." Selfie sticks are another big phenomenon: Korea's government has cracked down on ones that use Bluetooth without proper authorization.