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Chinese start-up Meitu has turned selfies into a billion-dollar business

It is looking to raise up to $1 billion in a listing on the Hong Kong exchange at a valuation of around $5 billion, reports Tech in Asia

Steven Millward I Tech in Asia 



Chinese start-up Meitu has been devoting itself to selfies since 2008. In that time it has become a multi-billion-dollar business as hundreds of millions of people around the world use Meitu‘s suite of mobile photo apps to spruce and primp their selfies. The Chinese start-up now has 270 million monthly active users and 52 million active daily users in its most popular app, MeituPic. Aside from being ahead of the selfie craze, Meitu’s popularity was boosted by its primping and skin-whitening photo filters, which first took off in China before exploding overseas with multiple language versions of the app. All those big numbers are important to the start-up as it pitches itself to investors ahead of an initial public offering later this year, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Meitu, based in the southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, is looking to raise up to $1 billion in a listing on the Hong Kong exchange at a valuation of around $5 billion.

It pulled in $88 million in rising revenue in the first six months of 2016, but posted a widening operating loss of $42 million in the same period. What’s most surprising about the start-up is that, despite the 18 apps it has published in the iOS App Store alone, it’s really a smartphone company. Meitu makes most of its revenue from phones, not from apps. It debuted its first selfie-centred smartphone back in 2013. While it hasn’t had a Xiaomi-style impact on China’s blossoming phone market, its Android-based models with the powerful front-facing cameras are finding a niche audience. This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here

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First Published: Fri, August 26 2016. 18:10 IST
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