Smartisan-backed Kuairu Technology is looking to revive itself by launching a new messaging service following the rapid decline in popularity of Bullet Messenger, our sister site TechNode Chinese reports.
The company announced on Tuesday that the founding team and Smartisan CEO Luo Yonghao are preparing for a launch event dubbed “Let’s have a chat” in Beijing on Jan. 15. The event will be closed to the public, though it will be livestreamed on Smartisan’s official website.
Kuairu Technology created Bullet Messenger last year. The app reached 4 million active users in the nine days following its launch, becoming the most downloaded social app in the Apple App Store. The Beijing-based startup also announced RMB 150 million (around $22 million) in financing after its first week of operation, leading observers to believe that it could be a rival to the Chinese super app WeChat.
The company began beta testing the new messaging app, named Liaotianbao, roughly meaning a good tool for chatting, on a small scale in December. It reportedly included features like messaging and a news feed, rewarding users who engage on the platform with virtual currency. The platform also requires users to bind their Alipay accounts when first logging in, but it is unclear whether the digital coins can be exchanged for cash.
The app is currently available in beta to Bullet Messenger users and is also accessible through Chinese app download sites.
Bullet Messenger’s popularity faded quickly after its launch, dropping to just 6,000 daily downloads in September after its initial boom. It then faced criticism from authorities for allowing vulgar content and not including adequate safety and privacy protections. Bullet Messenger was temporarily removed from the Apple App Store in October. The company said the app was undergoing a “review process” before being reinstated.