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When TMD becomes the capital’s new favorite, will AI be an opportunity for Meitu?

AsiaIndustrial NetNews: “Our artificial intelligence is more invested in products. For example, the cross-dimensional camera is a model for the application of Meitu’s artificial intelligence. In the future, we hope that Meitu will become the ‘eye’ and ‘brain’ of artificial intelligence.” In 2016 US At the annual performance conference of Tu, Wu Xinhong, founder and CEO of Meitu, gave such an answer to artificial intelligence. On the one hand, it is the moment of the rise of artificial intelligence, and on the other hand, Meitu’s stock price has been soaring. The Meitu CEO’s answer gives a new direction for the company’s future.

In the 2016 annual financial report just released by Meitu, the total revenue of 1.5786 billion yuan and a year-on-year growth of 112.8%, together with 520 million monthly active users, this transcript is enough to stand among the second-tier giants among Chinese internet companies. List. However, starting from the second half of 2016, today’s headlines, Meituan, and Didi, the three Internet rookies, have been labelled “TMD” by the media, and it seems that TMD is intentionally used to refer to a new pattern other than BAT.

But in China’s Internet arena, the status of “TMD” may make many people unconvinced. In particular, “M” seems to have an indissoluble bond with Chinese Internet entrepreneurs, including Xiaomi, which was once praised as a god, Meitu, which successfully IPOed in Hong Kong last year, and Momo, which performed well in the new financial report. And will AI be an opportunity for Meitu?

Why TMD and not Meitus?

Whether it’s Didi, Meituan or Toutiao, they are all rookies who have emerged in the vast red sea. Of course, Momo has also been the focus of media attention, but in the Internet industry of Fengyunhui, too many social products are used by WeChat. and Weibo cover up the halo. In contrast, Meitu is more like an alternative. It has been developing silently for nearly 10 years, and it has become the object of public opinion discussion at the time of IPO.

From the earliest NSS to the current BAT, it is not a masterpiece of Chinese investors in essence, and it is even more out of reach for ordinary investors. In contrast to “TMD”, it can be said that starting from the angel round, there are many Chinese investors, especially several popular merger cases such as Didi and Kuaidi, Meituan and Dianping, all from China Renaissance Capital and other Chinese investment banks. . To put it bluntly, “TMD” is the “pro-son” of Chinese investors, a “holy baby” that has been smashed with money from one outlet after another, and those domestic investors who “spend a lot of money” have also become the biggest beneficiaries.

It should be said that Meitu is a typical other side of Chinese Internet entrepreneurs, with a different entrepreneurial process from Didi. In 2008, the computer version of Meitu Xiuxiu was launched, and the mobile version of Meitu Xiuxiu was launched three years later. The beauty camera and BeautyPlus for overseas markets, which were launched later, were all image tools. It was not until the launch of the first beauty selfie phone, the Meitu mobile phone, in 2013, and the launch of the video social product Meipai in 2014, that the product matrix of Meitu was gradually enriched.

In the traditional cognition of the domestic Internet industry, tool apps have always lacked sufficient imagination. In this regard, when Moji Weather, Foot Note, Auntie and other tool apps are gradually being forgotten, Meitu, which has transformed from a tool to a social platform to a platform, can successfully land on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It is already a lucky one. Judging from the development history of Meitu, since 2013, it has been working hard to get rid of the shackles of tool apps and launched “Meipai” for social and content exploration. “Mei” has launched more than a dozen apps to enrich the product matrix and entered the hardware market with the help of Meitu mobile phones. In addition, Meitu’s transformation has also achieved initial results. Meitu, which is now China’s main video social product, has as many as 160 million monthly active users, and short videos have been on the rise recently; Meitu mobile phones and other smart hardware operators The revenue reached 1.47 billion, a year-on-year increase of 120.9%, establishing a “small but beautiful” position in the mobile phone market.

It is not difficult to find that compared with the aggressiveness of TMD, the performance of companies such as Meitu and Momo is more stable. Even so, Meitu has not received the same kind of love as TMD, and at least one opportunity is missing.

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Where are the opportunities for Meitu in the field of artificial intelligence?

2016 is a well-deserved year of artificial intelligence. Baidu, Google, Ali, NetEase and other first-line Internet giants have been attacking the field of artificial intelligence. It is quite optimistic about investors. Companies from Meitu and other tool products are also targeting artificial intelligence. For example, the Meitu T8 released earlier also incorporates artificial intelligence “beauty black technology”, and the Meitu Imaging Laboratory (MTLAB) behind it has also emerged. out of the water.

In terms of topicality, artificial intelligence is enough to be called a new outlet, but will this be an opportunity for Meitu? According to Mr. Kai-Fu Lee, to become a top AI company must have two conditions: one is to have a huge The number of users, and the second is to have top scientists. The implication is that the future of artificial intelligence will be a battle of data and talent.

It seems that we have noticed the advantages of tool products like Meitu Xiuxiu, especially for an app with a life cycle of nearly 10 years. According to the official data released by Meitu, Meitu’s image and community application matrix has been activated on 1.1 billion independent devices around the world, and a common point of these applications is “dealing with portraits”. ‘s Photos app handles more than 68 billion photos. Artificial intelligence has always been “deified”, and its current technical principles are undoubtedly two cores in image processing, namely deep learning and computer vision. According to this logic, Meitu has such huge user data, which lays a good foundation for it in the field of deep learning. Not long ago, Meitu applied AI technology to Meitu Xiuxiu and launched the “hand-painted selfie” function, which swiped the screen on overseas social platforms and attracted the attention of foreign technology media.

Another judging criterion is talent. This feature is very obvious in recent actions. Wu Enda’s departure has made the outside world sigh about Baidu’s artificial intelligence. Tencent is aggressively recruiting artificial intelligence talents. Ali has also launched a future-oriented “NASA” plan. Meitu established the MTLAB Meitu Imaging Laboratory in 2010, dedicated to researching cutting-edge imaging technologies related to computer vision and deep learning. Judging from the published patents, Meitu has registered more than 100 patented technologies in artificial intelligence, including face technology for accurate detection and recognition of faces and facial features, analysis of user age, gender and other face attributes and The intelligent beauty technology, image segmentation technology, etc. of this customized personalized beauty plan.

Of course, in addition to technology and talent, Meitu faces another problem, which is a viable business model.

At present, most of Meitu’s business is To C, which has won Meitu an advantage in the database, the application of artificial intelligence technology can also get user feedback as soon as possible, and the AI ​​technology itself is also to improve the product. Competitiveness. However, if artificial intelligence wants to become a pillar business of Meitu and become an important