Kuaishou returns to WeChat after six-month ban

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After being outlawed by WeChat for six months, Kuaishou videos can once again be shared on the Moment’s feed, according to local media reports (in Chinese).

In April, WeChat banned users from sharing and playing short videos through external links from apps including Bytedance’ Douyin, Huoshan, Xigua Video, as well as two Tencent-backed apps, Kuaishou and Weishi.

WeChat lifted the restriction on its own short video app Weishi (in Chinese) in August, but Toutiao’s short video apps including Douyin and Huoshan are still prohibited to be shared in the messaging app.

Netizens also found WeChat’s ban on short videos has extended outside of China. Douyin (aka Tik Tok), which has become increasingly popular in other countries such as the US, is also banned from being shared on WeChat.

(Image Credit: ITHome)

The ban was a big blow to the apps that were affected considering WeChat has over 1 billion users and is the largest messaging app in China. At the time, Tencent claimed that the move was to rectify Chinese online short video which was under increasing scrutiny from the government.

But Tencent’s move against short video apps did not end there.

In May, WeChat placed an even stricter restriction—a ban on posting of external audiovisual links from unauthorized companies on the Moment feed. Although Tencent removed the restriction just three days later, it could have affected all the mainstream video and music platforms in China.

“It is a smart but ruthless move, as Tencent is willing to sacrifice the videos it invested in itself to block all such videos,” said Liu Dingding, an industry analyst, as quoted by Global Times.

The short-lived ban was believed to be part of Tencent’s strategy to compete with its rivals, namely Toutiao. The news aggregator app and short video app Douyin under Toutiao has become popular in China in recent years, which threatened Tencent’s dominance in social media and entertainment. In June, Tencent said it was suing two companies under Toutiao for alleged defamation.