Douyin and Kuaishou may currently dominate China’s short-video market, but Tencent hasn’t given up yet on developing one of its homegrown apps into a serious contender. The tech titan, which also backs Kuaishou, recently renamed Yoo Video as Hotpot Video, and made significant changes to its interface.
Yoo, now Hotpot, originally launched in August 2018 and takes its name from the working title it was given internally while under development. According to app intelligence platform Qimai, its ranking in the “free” category of entertainment apps in the Apple App Store has hovered around the 100 mark; as of May 5, it was number 105 in that list. Unlike popular short video app Douyin, which limits most users to 15-second videos, Hotpot users can upload videos of up to 3 minutes.
According to Chinese news outlet 36kr, the previous version of the app presented users with two main channels to browse recommended content. Currently, Hotpot Video mainly features a single, horizontally-scrolling bar with several categories of content, including movies, games, food, pets, technology, and suggested videos.
As was advertised at a Tencent conference last year, the newest version of the app still prominently features vlogging content, according to its official description on Xiaomi’s Mi Store.
Yoo is far from Tencent’s only attempt to crack the still-growing short-video market. Citing Qimai and media outlet All Weather TMT, Ce.cn reported that Tencent launched eight short-video apps in 2018. Of those, Yoo is estimated to have received the most downloads in that year, at over 928,000. However, that figure pales in comparison to an estimated 26.3 million downloads of Tencent’s five-year-old short-video app, Weishi, over the same period.
In addition, in late March of this year, the team behind Yoo was reportedly reassigned to Weishi and Tencent Video. Yoo’s content was also integrated into Tencent Video’s channels, although its app continued to operate as a standalone offering.