Following in the footsteps of Tesla, Chinese app maker Meitu has joined the ranks of cryptocurrency investment.
In the early 2010s, Meitu reached such dominance in the portrait touch-up space that its eponymous flagship app became a verb for “photo beautifying” in China. But in recent years, as smartphones became to offer built-in filters, photo editors like Meitu are struggling to hold their lead. Meitu’s stock shrank from HK$18 apiece in 2017 to less than HK$3 today.
As the company turns 13 years old and seeks alternative growth, it sets its eyes on cryptocurrency.
Meitu purchased 15,000 units of Ether and 379.1214267 units of Bitcoin worth around $22.1 million and $17.9 million respectively on March 5 in open market transactions, the company disclosed Sunday. The purchase is the first tranche of the firm’s investment plan to buy up to $100 million worth of cryptocurrency, which is financed by its cash reserves.
In recent times, Meitu chairman Cai Wensheng has been an outspoken advocate of blockchain technologies. Though China has banned initial coin offerings and crypto trading exchanges, Cai said in 2018 that he personally bought about 10,000 bitcoins.
His support for cryptocurrencies is manifested in Meitu’s latest investment move. In the disclosure, the company states:
“The Board takes the view that blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt both existing financial and technology industries, similar to the manner in which mobile internet has disrupted the PC internet and many other offline industries. The Board believes that the blockchain industry is still in its early stage, analogous to the mobile internet industry in circa 2005.”
It continues: “Against this backdrop, the Board believes cryptocurrencies have ample room for appreciation in value and by allocating part of its treasury in cryptocurrencies can also serve as a diversification to holding cash treasury management.”
Meitu further explains that the Bitcoin investment is part of its “asset allocation” plan while its bet on Ether will aid its general blockchain endeavor, wherein it’s considering baking blockchain into its various overseas businesses, including Ethereum-based dApps. It’s also looking to invest in overseas blockchain projects “that can be synergistic to its large user base.”
As of June 2020, Meitu claimed nearly 300 million monthly active users on its suite of apps released across the globe.