World\Latin America

Meitu app gets some face time in Brazil

By BRUNA GAMA in Rio de Janeiro For China Daily | | Updated: 2017-02-27 05:31

Chinese company Meitu has been rocking the Brazilian market for photo edition apps and showing China that the South American giant is a viable area for expansion.

Meitu arrived in Brazil last April; since then, the company has launched translated versions of some of its main apps, Airbrush and Makeup Plus.

In the past year, the number of downloads of Meitu apps rose 840 percent, and Meitu reached 10 million users in the country.

The Brazilian team had the best performance among teams outside China. To Ludmilla Veloso, Meitu's country manager for Brazil, it was a matter of making a move at the right time.

"It seems that Brazil was waiting for someone to look at this market. Brazil was ready, and Meitu arrived at the right moment," Veloso told China Daily in a recent interview.

For Meitu, 2016 was a year for validating the Brazilian market, for establishing Brazil as a region with a good cost-benefit ratio for the company. In 2017, she said, the company will launch more apps and focus on increasing the scale of its operations and making the use of Meitu apps a habit.

Veloso says there are differences between the Brazilian and the Chinese ways of doing business. But there are much more similarities than people first believe, and with some effort, those differences can be addressed.

Reaching the impressive growth registered in Brazil was a matter of bridging the gap between the Chinese company's products and the needs of Brazilian users.

Meitu's local team studied the market and determined which adaptations had to be made. The company also worked with micro-influencers and communities on the Web to interact with the user base and gather impressions of the apps, suggestions and complaints.

The most successful Meitu app in Brazil is Airbrush, which allows for more subtle interventions in photographs, which is different from the Chinese preferences.

"Brazilians like a more natural appearance in photos, more discreet interventions," Veloso said. "There is a trend for the return of more natural beauty."

According to Veloso, the adaptations that had to be made helped improve the company's algorithm, which ultimately leads to improvements on a global scale.

"We are ultimately a beauty platform. And that is why Brazil is very important for China, because the diverse beauty we have here helped make our algorithm evolve and led to general improvement in the apps," she said. "This acknowledgement of our diversity made the apps grow."

Veloso said that though there are differences between the Brazilian and the Chinese ways of doing business, there are much more similarities than people think at first sight.

"There are a lot of differences, but there are a lot of similarities as well," Veloso stressed.

According to her, Chinese companies, especially those in the internet sector, have much to gain from exploring the Brazilian market.

"I think the Chinese are discovering Brazil, and I believe we will cooperate more and more in the internet sector. There are several companies already arriving, and more will arrive in the future. Brazil is a country where you can make it if you have a good product," she said. "It is hard work, but with investment and local teams, one can make it."

The beauty sector also has a lot of potential and a lot of room for expansion.

"Brazil is the fourth-largest beauty market in the world, after the United States, China and Japan. For a Chinese company, investing in Brazil is viable, cheaper and has a lot of potential," she said.

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