Meitu’s plan to become China’s Instagram could be risky
Meitu said it wants to transform its flagship photo-editing app into a social media platform like Instagram
While Meitu can make its users look beautiful, it is having trouble making its investors happy. Shares of Meitu fell 18.9% to an historic low of HK$3.91 on Wednesday morning after China’s largest beauty app reported on a disappointing interim on Tuesday and warned it would lose more money during a business transformation.
Meitu management realized that just making selfie takers happy was not enough. Now they want these beautified people to share their photos on social media.
On August 8, Meitu said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange that it has adopted a new strategy to transform its flagship photo-editing app into a social media platform like Instagram, which is not available in China.
“When the app is transformed into a social network, users would also be able to browse the images uploaded by their friends and/or other users,” it said. “We believe such browsing behavior will bring incremental traffic to Meitu, therefore increasing Meitu’s monthly average user. (MAU)”
Meitu is also betting that more male users will browse photos as more women are now willing to post their photos on social media platforms.
Meitu chief executive Wu Xinhung said last month on the RISE.forum that he expected users would have their virtual images in three dimension and these image will have the same facial expression and movement as a human being.
He also said these apps will be available for live cast and real-time chat very soon.
To achieve its dream of becoming a new Instagram, Meitu expected its profitability would be negatively impacted by rising advertising and marketing expenses over the next 18 months.
Since the company announced this new strategy, its shares have decreased about 20%, excluding Wednesday’s decline.
In the first half, Meitu reported a slight decrease and loss of 120 million yuan (US$17.53 million) on a near 6% revenue drop, while the number of active monthly users fell 16% to 350 million.
In fact, switching to an all-out social media game seems to be a risk for Meitu. It is unclear how Meitu can beat its rivals such as Tik Tok or Douyin and Weibo when it tries to transform itself into a social media platform.
Meitu could be a late-comer as a social media platform when a massive amount of vloggers have been doing stunts and crazy things to attract eyeballs over the live channels on Tik Tok and Weibo, making photo-sharing users less entertaining.
In 2015, Chinese blogger Liu Zichen, nicknamed “Snake boy,” had once been popular in China with his signature profile pictures – big eyes and sharp chin. Who wants to see him now?