WeChat subscription account is undergoing a major transformation, from a traditional folder method into a more intuitive feed stream format, making it more look like Jinri Toutiao’s format, Chinese media Hunwater Media is reporting.

After a WeChat user subscribes to an account, they can go directly to see the content (audio and video) with a more intuitive presentation. This could bring new content reshuffle and will have a greater impact on the user experience. Currently, WeChat has not given an official response to this news.

After the change
WeChat subscription account after the change (Image credit: Hunwater Media)

As early as May of this year, WeChat launched new features like “See (看一看)” and “search (搜一搜)”, making WeChat subscription accounts look more like Jinri Toutiao (今日头条). Users can tap on “See (看一看)” and choose from “What friends are reading” and “Hot topics,” leading some to believe WeChat was testing a feed stream style.

WeChat subscription account became a major platform for one-person-media (自媒体) who create their own public account and are encouraged to publish quality content to keep their users interested and share their content, while Jinri Toutiao, a company with “no editor” but “all engineers”, uses the latest machine learning technique to figure out what users are interested in and curate its content.

As these two companies established their reputation on their different strong points, they have reaped what they sowed. According to IImedia’s “2017 China’s New Media Industry Report“, WeChat public account has 63.4% absolute advantage in the one-person-media industry, followed by Weibo, which accounted for 19.3%.

While WeChat won the favor of one-person-media to stick to subscription account as their platform to publish content, Jinri Toutiao saw its over 100 million active users staying in their app reading their content as long as 76 minutes long in average as its CEO Zhang Yiming announced last November.

In June 2017, Jinri Toutiao reached 178 million users, the size of 7.71 million live users, and ranked 5th on the longest monthly usage time among all applications, according to QuestMobile’s 2017 Q2 Mobile Internet report.

WeChat’s feed stream trial cannot eventually make WeChat subscription account become truly a  feed stream. Because, after all, WeChat subscription account is a relatively closed content platform, which had also allowed Jinri Toutiao to grow.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com

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