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China selfie-app leader Meitu gaining traction abroad

Published Wed, Feb 22, 2017 · 09:50 PM

Shanghai

STROLLING a tree-lined Shanghai street with friends, Hu Dongyuan pulls out her smartphone and does what millions of Chinese women do daily: take a selfie, digitally "beautify" their faces, and pop it on social media.

Such virtual makeovers, typically involving lightening skin, smoothing out complexions and rounding the eyes, have propelled selfie-editing app Meitu to the top ranks of China downloads.

With more than 450 million active China users, Meitu is now also gaining traction abroad, using its more advanced features to challenge Instagram and Snapchat, which depend largely on filters and stickers.

China has a world-leading 700 million mobile-Internet users, vast numbers of whom use such apps to fuss over their digital appearance. "It's the same as with clothing and make-up. They are all ways for people to better present themselves," said Ms Hu, a travel agency employee, who likens Meitu to a cheap, non-permanent form of…

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