Popular image processing and social sharing app Meitu has recently taken the top spot in the App Store Rankings of six countries, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Mongolia. The app owes its recent success to Andy the ArtBot, the world's first feature to utilize AI technology to create unique portrait illustrations. The Meitu app has also reached the top of the Google Play Ranking in South Korea and Thailand.
The Meitu app takes top spot on the App Store in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia.
In Japan, the app snagged first place on both the App Store General Ranking and on the App Store Photography Category Ranking on August 31, while remaining one of the most popular search keywords in the App Store.
In the highly competitive South Korean market, the Meitu app maintained its top spot on App Store General Rankings for 21 consecutive days from August 1 to August 22. It was also ranked first on the Google Play General Rankings for 9 consecutive days between August 2 and August 10. The Meitu app has officially become the most popular app among South Korea's youth: a feat unmatched by even globally leading applications like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.
The Meitu app also tops Google Play in Korea and Thailand as well as the App Store in Mongolia and Egypt.
While Meitu has always been well-received around the world for its powerful portrait retouching functions and fun image enhancing effects and filters, Andy the ArtBot is the main factor that led to its recent spike in popularity.
Launched in November 2017, Andy the ArtBot is the world's first feature to utilize AI technology to create unique portrait illustrations. The feature took users by storm upon its release, sparking a trend for comic-style photos all over the globe. On July 27, Andy the ArtBot released a refreshing new 'Summer' effect that immediately became popular with users, both domestically and globally.
An example of the ArtBot's 'Summer' effect.
Andy's works of art are mainly based on Draw Net, an image generating network developed by Meitu Imaging & Vision Lab (MTlab), Meitu's R&D hub. Through deep learning technology, MTlab is capable of accurately analyzing human features while capturing the essence of multiple illustration styles, allowing the ArtBot to continuously learn and hone its skills. A user simply needs to take a selfie, and Andy does the rest: rendering illustrations based on the original picture, while giving users a choice of several style options.
Users from around the world are excited to post their before & after pictures on social platforms and are quick to find creative new ways to utilize the function. Andy's art skills were even praised by Japanese manga artist Ishikawa Jun, who posted pictures he edited with Meitu on his Twitter account, receiving heaps of comments screaming 'kawaii'. Popular Japanese makeup blogger and celebrity YouTuber, YOKIKI created a short video tutorial on using the ArtBot while introducing the app to her many followers: she especially enjoys the shoujo-manga style illustrations.
This is not the first time Meitu has caught the attention of overseas users. The Meitu app became widely known for its Hand-drawn selfie feature in January 2017, when it rose rapidly in markets like the US, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Hong Kong. Within just two weeks of its launch, the Hand-drawn selfie feature was used over 340 million times globally, attracting widespread media attention. In the Southeast Asian markets, the Meitu app is currently gaining over one million users per month.
Immediately going viral, Hand-drawn selfies became a trend among social media posts for users around the world. Countless international movie stars and key opinion leaders, including Oscar winner Brie Larson, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot, and household name American talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon and James Corden, all posted photos of themselves online with the Hand-drawn selfie feature applied.
A trend setter, Meitu is constantly innovating for each of its unique global markets. On September 1, Meitu's BeautyPlus released 12 animated stickers for pets in Japan. These new stickers identify the facial features of cats and dogs to automatically add adorable decorations, making it easy for owners to snap super cute pics of their fur babies. The first batch of pet stickers include expressions like angry, blushing, tears, and hungry, along with accessories like wigs, lion and frog heads, roses, sunglasses.
September 1, Meitu's BeautyPlus released 12 animated stickers in Japan that supports pet facial recognition.