Selfie apps are big business – inside and outside China

10/19/2018 8:33:00 AM

Meitu, China’s ultra-popular beauty app, is conquering the world. The eye-widening, skin-lightening, chin-narrowing photo app and ‘beautifying’ video platform has been downloaded one billion times.

The company has hundreds of millions of monthly users and wants to expand globally. Outside mainland China, it now has offices in Santa Monica and Palo Alto, Calif., and people on the ground in London; Mexico City; Tokyo; New Delhi; Singapore; Hong Kong; Taipei, Taiwan; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

When the company was founded in 2008, the word ‘selfie’ did not yet exist. In those days, Meitu was a desktop photo processor inspired by Google’s ­Picasa. The company wanted to bring simple photo editing to China. According to a report by the Washington Post, the company’s team soon realized that many users seemed focused on one type of editing: fixing their faces. “Meitu adjusted accordingly, creating the one- or two-touch “beautifying” options that became their signature.”

Today, Meitu’s features are all about fixing portraits: there is MeituPic, a one-touch beauty app and Meipai, a video platform with flattering filters. Meitu also markets a line of cellphones with twin 21-megapixel cameras optimized for selfies.

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