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Beauty obsession drives Meitu app’s $3 billion valuation

Meitu app, photo app

China's love affair with physical beauty is helping to fuel a selfie-editing app's valuation of 3 billion dollars.


Meitu app helps 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, Shandong province, 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. Its apps allow people to adjust their photos in almost every conceivable way and with a single touch, from lightening complexion to adjusting height and slapping on virtual makeup. The start-up, backed by IDG and Qiming Venture Partners, is raising about 200 million dollars in its latest round of funding, the people familiar with the matter said, requesting not to be named.


It's also planning an overseas initial public offering as soon as this year, with the Hong Kong bourse a possible listing destination, one of the people said.


Meitu completed its third round of investment in 2014, gaining a cumulative amount of 360million dollars and a valuation of 2 billion dollars from backers such as Innovation Works, founded by Kai-fu Lee, the former China head for Google Inc.


Its apps have already been installed on more than 900 million mobile devices. It's consistently topped photo and video app rankings on Apple Inc's App Store in China this year, according to data provided by market researcher App Annie.



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