Tencent’s short video app Weishi has become the most popular free app in the Apple App Store after the social media and gaming giant quietly allowed some of its WeChat users to directly share and post videos from the app on WeChat starting September 15. Videos from Douyin and other popular platforms remain blocked.

Screenshot of Apple App Store’s top free apps

Tencent told local media that not all Weishi videos can play on WeChat, only that are verified by Weishi.

Access in Wechat is located at the “Create a new post” section of WeChat Moments. Tapping on the Weishi ad users to exit WeChat and open the app. If the app hasn’t been downloaded, users will be redirected to the download page in the App Store. However, the button is tagged as “promotional”. Tencent told local media that the promotion of Weishi is only for a limited time, and will be taken down when the time period ends, although there was no specific time span mentioned on how long the promotion will be.

Before this newly-emerged direct and very obvious access to Weishi, WeChat first launched the beta test allowing Weishi videos to be shared on WeChat on August 24, according to the company’s press release.

Selection screen when posting pictures or videos to WeChat Moments. The last option is for Weishi.

This came four months after WeChat banned sharing short videos from any platforms including ByteDance-backed Douyin and Watermelon and Kuaishou when the authorities tried to clean the content of short videos.

In early April, Tencent was reported to invest RMB 3 billion to promote the short video app, eyeing the lucrative profits of the short video market and fearing Douyin’s drastic growth would compromise Tencent’s position as China’s biggest social network service provider.

Douyin now is the fourth most popular free app in App Store and it achieved 500 million monthly active users across the globe since July 17.

Jiefei Liu is a Beijing based tech reporter. She focuses on the union of tech and content creation and loves agriculture. You can write to her at Jiefei@technode.com

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