Chinese smartphone brand Meitu may be best known internationally for its beautification selfie software, but it also makes smartphones that incorporate these apps. The phone hardware business is tough, and to allow Meitu to concentrate on what it does best, software, it has announced a strategic partnership with fellow Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi. The company has been granted the international license for the Meitu brand, and will take over all aspects of smartphone production.
Meitu isn’t leaving the world of smartphones, but will instead concentrate on developing new image processing software and technology, which will become part of its app lineup. In addition to selfie, beautification, and image editing apps, Meitu also operates Meipai, a video-based social network in China. These apps and services are likely to continue being pre-installed on future Meitu-branded phones.
The partnership was announced in a press release published by the Hong Kong stock exchange, stating that Xiaomi will design, develop, produce, and sell Meitu smartphones. It has the exclusive license to use the brand name around the world. It’s not clear how Xiaomi will use it though. Recently, it launched the Pocophone F1, which is also a collaboration, and branded the device Pocophone by Xiaomi. It may choose to do the same with future Meitu phones.
Meitu’s apps are available around the world, despite attracting controversy in the past regarding privacy; but its smartphones have always only been sold in China. Over the past year, Xiaomi has launched its hardware in Europe, culminating in its entry into the U.K. in November. It’s possible some future Meitu phones made by it will also launch internationally.
Xiaomi already has its own beauty apps, around which it has developed its own enhancements using artificial intelligence, and a strong varied range of phones. Given that, why would it want to partner with Meitu? Apart from absorbing a smaller competitor, Meitu products are overwhelmingly popular among young women, which may help Xiaomi further diversify its user base. A massive 81 percent of Meitu app users are women, according to the South China Morning Post in a report published earlier this year, and three in five of them are aged between 18 and 30 years old.
No details have been provided on when a Xiaomi-produced Meitu phone will launch.