Chinese microblogging platform Weibo pulled its newly launched social and lifestyle app Oasis Wednesday from Android and iOS app stores after a user posted about a striking similarity between its logo and another created by a South Korean design firm for a music festival.
The removal is a preemptive move from Weibo, according to an announcement posted Wednesday on the Oasis official Weibo account. The company did not immediately respond to TechNode’s requests for comment on Thursday.
Why it’s important: Weibo’s latest project marking its push into the image-based social network sector, Oasis garnered widespread public attention immediately following its launch, ranking at the top of Apple China App Store’s free app list.
- Weibo opened Instagram-like Oasis to public testing on Monday, positioning itself in direct competition with rival platforms including Xiaohongshu.
- The move is seen as a push for future growth. Net revenue for Weibo, which had 211 million daily active users as of June, remained flat in the second quarter of this year and net profits declined more than a quarter to $103 million in Q2 from $140 million the same period a year ago. The account with the most followers topped 50 million, while this number is more than 200 million Instagram followers for celebrities like Kim Kardashian on competing social media platform Instagram.
- Xiaohongshu was removed from Chinese app stores in August after complaints about misleading content.
Details: A Weibo user named Wang Yuan pointed out on Wednesday that the Oasis logo shares a striking similarity with one that a South Korean design firm, Studio Fnt, created for the country’s Ulju Mountain Film Festival in 2015.
- Weibo CEO Wang Gaofei commented Wednesday on a tech blogger’s post which shared Wang’s initial discovery, saying “Noticed, and it’s been pulled from shelves.”
- The app also posted an apology for technical problems caused by user requests inundating its servers despite the invitation-only testing phase.
- It is unclear when the app will be made available again for download.
Context: The app does not have e-commerce functionality at this stage, though an industry expert TechNode spoke with on Tuesday said that he expects that the app will add an e-commerce function in the future to tap on the social e-commerce rise in China.
- China’s social e-commerce market is expected to be worth up to $180 billion by 2021 according to China Internet Watch, a digital consulting company.
- Instagram, along with a series of popular services like Google, Facebook, and YouTube are blocked in China.
- Similarly, Chinese tech firm Sohu also hit bumps in the road in its push into social media. The firm’s social app Huyou was pulled from app stores a few days after launch in June before returning to stores in August.