Date
21 July 2017
A photo-editing app may help a person look like Fan Bingbing (L), but it can also create distorted images like the one seen here (R) from 'Snake Boy' Liu Zichen. Photos: Weibo
A photo-editing app may help a person look like Fan Bingbing (L), but it can also create distorted images like the one seen here (R) from 'Snake Boy' Liu Zichen. Photos: Weibo

Meitu, a beautiful app with rich valuation

When it comes to beauty, it can be expensive. When it comes to online, the sky seems to be the limit. But what if it is online beauty?

Consider the case of Meitu (美圖秀秀), a Chinese image-editing app developer that is said to be considering an overseas listing in Hong Kong as soon as this year.

The mainland firm has bankers as well as the app users all excited.

There is no doubt the IPO would be a hot deal.

It is said that 900 million people have tried photo-editing apps globally, helping the segment constantly top the photo and video apps ranking on Apple store. This figure compares favorably with the 1.6 billion Facebook users.

Apparently Meitu has an active user base of 270 million, or roughly about one in five Chinese. If we assume that most of the users are female, we can work out that 40 percent of women used the app.

What is the magic here?

Well, Meitu allows users to edit and touch up their photos (such as lengthening and slimming their legs) and share selfies via popular social network platforms like Facebook, Flickr and Instagram.

Forget about dieting, or two-hour exercise. You can become much thinner and definitely prettier in just one click – and narrow the gap between yourself and top models like Angelababy and first-tier movie stars like Fan Bingbing.

Save all the time and money on beauty centers, which often sells you overpriced treatments and also act make you run around to book your appointments.

Being a wonderful app, Meitu would not come cheap – both in terms of its user charge and company valuation. Yes, it can be downloaded free, but you will have to pay if you want advanced features.

Given the lack of public information on the firm, it is difficult to gauge its business revenue. But take the Chinese words of wisdom a few thousand years ago that said: “The scholar dies for his bosom friend. A girl will doll herself up for him who loves her.”

That probably explains why Meitu is able to raise US$200 million in its latest round of funding that targets a valuation of more than US$3 billion (HK$23.4 billion), according to Bloomberg.

The Xiamen-based company, which received angel investments from IDG, Qiming Venture Partners and Innovation Works, has partnered with the Foxconn group to expand its business.

If Meitu can fetch this kind of valuation, it will be about three times the size of Sa Sa Cosmetics (0178.HK) and 58 times Modern Beauty (0919.HK).

Given that a construction firm associated with TV artist Priscilla Wong was valued at over 1,000 times earnings this week on the Hong Kong market, who can say what new records that Meitu might set when it lists later this year?

– Contact us at [email protected]

BK/JP/RC

EJ Insight writer

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