Screenshot of the “plaza” feature on Dengyu Jiaoyou. (Image credit: TechNode)

Tencent has on Monday launched an anonymous social app named “Dengyu Jiaoyou” similar to the now defunct “Drift Bottle” feature on WeChat, which allowed users to write text or voice messages for strangers to pick up within the app, TechPlanet reported.

Why it matters: Tencent has been moving to bolster its presence in China’s social landscape with apps other than WeChat as growth for the mega chatting app slows, and has launched five social products since November.

  • Tencent has launched video social chat app Maohu, interest community-based social app Youji, verified user social app Qingliao, and invitation-based social app Pengyou over the past few weeks.
  • WeChat’s user base growth is slowing, and user time spent is declining.

Tencent quietly launches video chat social app Maohu

Details: Dengyu Jiaoyou users can post text messages or images in a “plaza” which are visible to other users. Those who are interested can reply to the messages and start private conversations.

  • The app asks users to register accounts with phone numbers and does not require information other than gender and birthdays, which are displayed as corresponding Chinese zodiac animals.
  • Users can only choose from four different images to use as profile pictures and are only allowed to use randomly generated user names such as “delicate devil,” “elegant CEO,” or “weird knight” (our translation).
  • According to TechNode’s observations, the majority of users posting in the app’s plaza are males, and several plaza notices feature complaints that the app has no female users.
  • So far, the app is only available on third party Android stores in China.
  • The number of hours users spend per month on WeChat fell 8.4% to 32.4 in June compared with 35.4 in December 2018, according to a report by research firm Quest Mobile.
  • Growth is also slowing for the ubiquitous messaging app, which boasts 1.15 billion users as of the third quarter. Its monthly active users grew 6.3% year on year in Q3 2019 compared with 10.5% year on year in Q3 2018, according to company filings.
  • Tencent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Context: Tencent announced plans to remove the “Drift Bottle” feature from WeChat in December 2018, citing user complaints and media reports that the system was used to disseminate pornography and solicitation. The company removed the feature in May this year.

Tony Xu

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail: tony.xu@technode.com

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