Briefing: Xiaomi briefly joins short video craze with new app

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Xiaomi Releases Short Video App – Yicai Global

What happened: Following in the footsteps of Bytedance and Tencent, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi launched its own short video entertainment app. Zhenjing Video is operated by a company in the southwestern city of Chengdu, in which Xiaomi has a controlling stake. As of Thursday it was still available on Xiaomi and Baidu’s Android app stores but has since been taken down, although a WeChat mini-program by the same name remains live. The app hosted videos ranging from one minute to 10 minutes, plus features such as personalized content and ‘bullet screens’ for displaying comments. Users are currently unable to upload their own videos, however.

Why it’s important: Xiaomi is a latecomer to the short video scene, where Bytedance, as well as tech titans Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, are already wrestling for users’ attention spans–either through strategic investment or by producing their own products. However, an app might just make sense for the smartphone maker, which has already built an in-phone ecosystem of internet services from gaming to music to livestreaming. While internet services made up only 9% of all company revenue in 2018, showing 0.5% growth from 2017, it grew 61% compared to the year before. The gross profit margin of Xiaomi’s internet services also grew from 57% to 63%, led by video and live streaming offerings.