(From Macau Daily Times)
China’s love affair with physical beauty is helping to fuel a selfie-editing app’s valuation of $3 billion. Meitu Inc. is shooting for at least that much in its latest funding round, according to people familiar with the company, a target that would make it one of China’s 10 largest private startups and eclipse household names like Yelp Inc.
It’s banking on China’s growing pre-occupation with ideals of comeliness, a passion that’s inspired countless Internet memes and a surge in cosmetic surgery. Meitu’s apps help 270 million monthly active users slim faces, lengthen legs and otherwise spice up their online appearance – essential among image-obsessed social media mavens.
“I never post a photo online without using Meitu first,” said 26-year-old accountant Pan Nana from Qingdao, who’s used the app for more than six years to streamline body parts and conceal acne. “It’s the first app I’ve ever used to beautify selfies and I haven’t come across another that has as many functions.”
Meitu, founded in 2008, arrived at an opportune time. Social media use exploded in the wake of years of hyper-economic expansion, while foreign entertainment helped popularize new ideas of attractiveness. That ardor surfaced this year through well-publicized social media frenzies, including an online dare encouraging women to cover their waists with a sheet of A4 paper – thus proving they’re skinny. In the same vein, another challenge involved touching belly buttons by wrapping an arm behind their backs. Read More