Bytedance takes on WeChat with new video messaging app

1 min read
(Image credit: Bytedance)

Chinese tech giant Bytedance on Tuesday launched a video-based messaging app focused on sharing content with friends and family, as it moves to take on WeChat’s newly launched short-video features.

The app, dubbed Duoshan, allows users to share disappearing videos with their contacts. The company has also removed the public “like” and “comment” buttons on videos, in what appears to be a move to ease the stress that comes with chasing affirmation online, instead only including them in private messages.

“As Douyin’s user base has grown, we noticed that users not only share their videos on the platform but share them with close friends and families,” Zhang Nan, CEO of Bytedance-owned short video platform Douyin, known as Tiktok internationally, said at the launch event in Beijing.

Several Chinese tech companies have attempted to create WeChat-like platforms. After Bullet Messenger’s downfall, Smartisan-backed Kuairu Technology has been beta testing its new messaging app, Liaotianbao. Kuaibo founder Wang Xin’s new artificial intelligence company Ringle.ai also has plans to launch own social app.

Senior industry analyst Jin Di said she believes many other apps and tech companies will want to shape themselves to try and refresh WeChat’s social patterns.

Duoshan’s app interface is designed to encourage users to share their experiences with a close circle of friends, unlike its short video app Douyin which allows users to share videos with a broad follower base.

Bytedance—the world’s most valuable startup—already operates a host of video platforms including Douyin, Volcano Video, and Watermelon Video. According to the company’s latest figures, short video app Douyin has over 250 million daily active users in China as of January 2019.

One of the main features, called “Suipai” (“random filming” in Chinese), allows users to post photos or videos that automatically disappear after 72 hours—similar to WeChat’s new Time Capsule feature. WeChat implemented the feature as part of an update in December.

Duoshan users can send red envelopes, text messages, stickers, and emojis to each other via the built-in messaging function.