Meitu Internationalization in 2018: AirBrush and BeautyPlus Profitable, Overseas Users of the Meitu App Increased Drastically

12.25 2018

As of December 24, 2018, Meitu's three overseas products - AirBrush, BeautyPlus and the overseas version of the Meitu App – have all made significant gains in revenue and user growth. With its subscription-based business model, AirBrush's revenue in 2018 has increased over 500% year-over-year (YOY) and it is now profitable. BeautyPlus, with a primarily advertising-based business model, has achieved a 165% growth in revenue for 2018 and is also profitable. The overseas version of the Meitu App has ranked first in the App Stores of Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Mongolia, and Saudi Arabia in 2018. Meitu's internationalization strategy of having technology at its core and providing localized product experiences for global users, combined with flexible business models has proved to be a successful one.

"Meitu is committed to bringing a series of MTlab technologies to overseas markets and launching a new generation of beauty-enhancement functions such as the Personalized Camera, AI Portraits and AI Smart Skin Testing while continuously upgrading the photo-editing standards for our overseas users," said Meitu CTO Wei Zhang. "Moving forward, Meitu will continue its internationalization efforts with key considerations that include brand recognition, the size of a market's user base, the market entry threshold, and the potential for growth and monetization."

AirBrush: Profitable with an Over 500% Revenue Increase, YOY

AirBrush is profitable, achieving an over 500% YOY revenue increase in 2018.

Meitu launched AirBrush globally in August 2015, with a focus on Europe and the Americas. What started as a natural-style retouching product to help users in those markets share selfies on social media has exceeded 8 million MAU – a 20% increase compared to 2017. Based on App Store Connect data, paid users now comprise over 10% of all users and the monthly repurchase rate has exceeded 80%. AirBrush has reached the top 3 in Russia, the top 5 in Brazil, and the top 30 of the United States for the App Store Photo & Video App rankings this year.

Starting in the third quarter of 2018, AirBrush has applied a subscription-based business model that has resulted not only in the achievement of profitability but also a YOY revenue increase of over 500%. Unlike many Chinese Internet companies that have entered the mature Western and emerging Latin American markets through large merger and acquisition deals and/or aggressive launches, AirBrush has achieved its growth largely through organic means.  

AirBrush will be implementing further product upgrades moving forward. For example, the virtual makeup experience will be upgraded to include personalized retouching recommendations based on unique facial attributes. New virtual makeup options will be introduced on a regular basis along with personalized virtual makeup experiences to help users better express their individuality. Facial recognition technology will be introduced to create a user profile for each user's retouching preferences, allowing each individual to have their own unique and personalized beauty experience. In the future, AirBrush will also attempt more international cross-brand collaborations.

BeautyPlus: Profitable with an Over 165% Revenue Increase, YOY

BeautyPlus is now profitable with an over 165% YOY revenue increase, derived mostly from advertising.

BeautyPlus, the overseas version of BeautyCam, achieved an annual revenue growth rate of over 165% YOY. It is currently profitable and mainly derives its revenue from advertising, with over half coming from programmatic advertising and the rest from direct ad sales. BeautyPlus has reached 480 million total downloads since launching in April of 2013.

BeautyPlus has been collaborating with international brands to market in interactive ways while upgrading its photo-editing standards for users in Asia. In 2018, BeautyPlus cooperated with the well-known Japanese IP Sanrio to launch interactive AR filters with six characters that include Hello Kitty, Melody, and Pom Pom Purin. Other collaborations with well-known brands for AR filter cooperation include global cooperation with DKNY Fragrances, Amazon Prime in India, and the skincare brand POND'S in Indonesia.

BeautyPlus is currently taking the lead in integrating all of Meitu's overseas commercial products under the Meitu Ads brand. This will provide potential clients with an official platform for advertising cooperation while generating sales leads and more opportunities for external online traffic collaboration.

To engage users and meet the specific demands of local markets, BeautyPlus has continuously introduced new functions and filters. For example, BeautyPlus has launched Japan's first pet-specific dynamic AR filter in response to Japanese users' love of taking pet pictures.

The Indian market offers significant potential in terms of both population and economic growth. BeautyPlus currently has over 23 million MAU in the country, a 50% increase YOY. It captures an astonishing 37% of new downloads in the Photo Retouching App category and is currently the most popular app of its category in India. This year BeautyPlus has launched a special Diwali-themed AR filter in honor of one of the country's most cherished holiday events.

BeautyPlus has also collaborated with global giants like Google in the areas of technology, marketing, and monetization. In 2018, BeautyPlus participated in Google's roadshows for various markets around the world. It has also used Google products to increase its return on investment: through Google DFP, revenue from programmatic advertising has increased by 150% YOY.

The Meitu App: Tops the App Store Rankings of Six Overseas Markets

In 2018, the Meitu App took top spots in the App Store and Google Play Rankings of six overseas markets.

2018 has been a phenomenal year for the Meitu App overseas: it has taken the top spot in the App Store and Google Play Rankings in six overseas markets. In the Japanese and Korean markets, photos generated by the Meitu App have swept Instagram and Twitter.

In South Korea, the Meitu App has surpassed Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other popular apps in August 2018: it maintained the top spot on App Store Overall Rankings for 21 consecutive days, and 9 consecutive days on the Google Play Overall Rankings. It also ranked first in the Google Play Photography Category for 25 consecutive days.

In August, the Meitu App ranked number one in the App Store Overall and Photo and Video Categories in Japan. The number of Japanese users increased fivefold in the same month. Andy the ArtBot is the main factor that led to the spike in popularity in the Japanese and Korean markets. The feature utilizes AI technology to transform real portraits into illustrations in just 5 seconds. The feature took users by storm upon its release, sparking a trend for cartoon-style photos all over the globe.

The Meitu App has also become popular in the Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mongolian markets. It has repeatedly taken the top spot in Thailand, topping the App Store and Google Play for overall rankings in February, and once again in mid-October. It reached number one in the Saudi App Store (both Overall and in the Photo and Video Category) and Google Play (Photography Category) in August. The Meitu App also reached number one on the Egyptian App Store Overall App Ranking in August. It scored number one in the Mongolian App Store Overall App Ranking in August.

Over 80% of the Meitu App’s overseas growth is organic, which speaks to users' enthusiasm for the product and users' affinity for the Meitu brand. The Meitu App has also achieved tremendous overseas user growth this year as a result of localized operations and product innovation. By creating localized and innovative products and appealing to local celebrities and influencers, South Korea's MAU has grown by 357% YOY and Japan by 38% YOY. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia's MAU has increased by 53% YOY, Vietnam by 44%, and Thailand by 9%. Since its entry into the overseas market at the end of 2017, the Meitu App has accumulated over 111.2 million overseas downloads. Its overseas MAU in December 2018 is over 11.8 million.

The Meitu App also collaborates with many well-known global brands. This includes the Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweler PIAGET, with whom the Meitu App launched an AR filter in Taiwan. It has also worked with PIAGET on an integrated marketing campaign that includes a PIAGET popup store, community and influencer marketing, as well as ads on the Meitu App and joint public relations campaigns. The Meitu app also collaborates with the Cartoon Network, including The PowerPuff Girls and We Bare Bears.

The Meitu App has launched an AR filter in Taiwan in collaboration with the Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweler PIAGET.

Another international highlight for the 2018 year is the Meitu Magic Mirror, an SDK integration AI service that offers virtual makeup, skin testing, facial feature analysis, and intelligent makeup recommendations. December 12th marked the grand opening of the world's first Givenchy Beauty Boutique in Nanjing, China. Meitu Magic Mirror is featured prominently at the center of the store, helping to make the Givenchy Beauty Boutique a unique and high-end brand experience. Givenchy Beauty is the newest addition to the list of well-known brands collaborating with Meitu Magic Mirror: it has previously cooperated with Sephora, Make Up Forever, Watsons, DFS, Clarins and other well-known brands both in China and abroad.

Driving the digitalization of retail: The Meitu Magic Mirror Section of a DFS store in Hong Kong provides virtual makeup and facial feature analysis services.

In September, Meitu was selected as one of the Top 50 Leading Chinese Cross-border Brands by Facebook and KPMG. Meitu's overseas users currently account for over 30% of its total user base.

In September, Meitu was selected as one of the Top 50 Leading Chinese Cross-border Brands by Facebook and KPMG.

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