It looks probable that the Hong Kong exchange’s second largest tech IPO ever is in the business of erasing pimples, touching up portraits with post-production makeup, and manufacturing cameras and phones equipped with filters to make selfies appear thinner, bright eyed and flawless.

Meitu, one of China’s leading selfie app and hardware makers, is seeking to list in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter this year, hoping to raise between $500 million-$1 billion USD, according to sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal.

The Hong Kong exchange has not seen an tech IPO of this size since Tencent listed in 2004, raising $1.5 billion HKD.

A leaked image online showed the cover of an IPO application filed on behalf of Meitu, marked with a stamp of receipt by the listing division of the Hong Kong exchange on the 19th of Aug. The company declined comment on the rumors.

Meitu CEO Cai Wensheng, a prominent self-educated entrepreneur and investor, explained to an independent Chinese journalist that opting to go public in Hong Kong rather than the US would allow them to stay close to the bulk of their users in greater China.

However, Hong Kong might not have been Meitu’s first pick– previous rumors had it that Meitu originally favored mainland China’s widely touted Strategic Emerging Industries Board, before it was harshly scrapped from the government’s plans in March this year.

Meitu is seeking a valuation of $5 billion USD following the listing, an ambitious number for an ambitious company— it has more than 700 million users worldwide, and in 8 years, Meitu, literally meaning ‘beautiful picture’ in Chinese, has spawned a clan of 8 selfie or photo processing apps, some adding artistic flair to landscape photos, others devoted to retro style hues mimicking old films.

It has also developed two phones and one camera, complete with peripherals from remote shutters to selfie light sources. As Meitu’s apps are free, hardware is the company’s major bread winner. The company’s equipment has become a standard in China for teenage selfie junkies, aspiring actresses, models, and online celebrities.

Perhaps only in Asia, is it alright to joke about the magical powers that girls possess— think the Japanese art of makeup, Korean cosmetic surgery, and Chinese photo enhancing, and perhaps only here will you find a selfie app that attract this much capital and courtship.

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April Ma

Based in Beijing, April Ma writes on tech trends and covers startups that may (or may not) be the next BATs. Reach her at or Mafangjing (Wechat).

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