Meitu Inc., the Chinese photo-enhancing app provider and smartphone maker, released an official statement last night (February 7) on its official Weibo account denying the recent Coolpad acquisition rumor and calling it “pure fiction.”
The statement reads: “Any organization that made up and spread the false claim, regardless of its original intention, is unethical for defaming industry peers and should be held accountable for legal consequences.” Meitu said it will investigate the source of the false claim and advise companies in the industry to carry on healthy competition and practices among peers.
Sina Tech reports (in Chinese) that the rumor first appeared in an article published anonymously on shoujibao.cn (手机报在线), a local tech news site. The original article may have been taken down due to the backlash.
The article claimed that Coolpad, once one of Chinese largest smartphone maker, plans on acquiring Meitu’s smartphone business and that it will focus on the development of artificial intelligence (AI) after the deal.
The article also suggested that with Meitu’s AI technology and the large pool of users overseas, the acquisition would put wind under the wings for Coolpad, who is focusing increasingly on AI technologies and overseas expansion. Recently, Coolpad announced plans to expand in Silicon Valley in an effort to boost its AI capabilities.
Although Meitu started out as a beautifying app provider in China, its revenue has so far mainly come from hardware—its selfie smartphones. According to the company’s mid-year financial report released in August, Meitu’s smartphone sales hit over RMB 1.9 billion in the first six months of 2017, a 274% year-on-year increase. The report also indicates that Meitu’s smartphone business helped decrease the net loss from incurred in the companies’ app services.
Currently, hardware accounts for 90% of Meitu’s total sales. The company’s advertising business and other value-added services also have been performing quite well.