Dating platform Momo on Wednesday quietly launched a short video social app, “Duiyan,” advancing into China’s crowded video-based social market where heavyweight players such as Tencent and Bytedance have already secured footing, media outlet TechPlanet reported.

Why it matters: As the largest online dating platform in China, Nasdaq-listed Momo has expanded its line of products in an attempt to boost user growth, which slowed in 2019.

  • The company’s deepfake face-swapping app Zao went viral in China in September 2019 but was censured by regulators for excessive data collection and insufficient privacy protection.

Details: Similar to most short video apps, Duiyan allows users to shoot and upload short videos and browse a feed consisting of videos created by other users. Unlike short video giants Douyin and Kuaishou, user feeds on Duiyan are not currently customizable.

  • In the feed, user information including handle, gender, age, geographical distance, and last active time are displayed at the top of the screen.
  • Users of the app can privately message content creators using a chat bar placed at the bottom of videos.
  • If users wish for their comments to be visible to others, they can post them in the form of bullet chats that overlay the videos, much like the feature often seen on Chinese live-streaming platforms.
  • Duiyan is currently only available on iOS devices.

Ask China Anything: Would you use Zao to swap your face?

Context: Despite recording solid year-on-year revenue growth of 18% in the third quarter of 2019, Momo’s user base growth increased only 3% year on year to 114.1 million.

  • Close to three-quarters of the company’s revenue came from live-streaming services in the third quarter.
  • Revenue from value-added services almost doubled during the period, driven by a surge in the company’s virtual gift business.
  • Momo acquired rival dating app Tantan for $600 million in February 2018.
  • China’s short video streaming industry is expected to exceed RMB 38 billion (around $5.46 billion) in 2020, according to Iimedia Research.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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