Chinese tech giant Tencent is reportedly in the process of closing its digital collectible platform Huanhe after launching in August 2021, as Jiemian (in Chinese) reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. 

Why it matters: Digital collectibles are China’s version of NFTs with some key differences, such as restrictions on the resale of these NFTs. Huanhe is supported by blockchains managed by Tencent and its partners. The end of Huanhe may also mean the end of collectibles bought on the platform, which has drawn buyer concerns.

Details: Chinese new platform Jiemian reported that Huanhe closed its external service earlier this month, citing an unnamed source.

  • However, another Chinese media China Times reported on Thursday that Huanhe told them that “the platform hasn’t received any notice and they are operating as usual.”
  • Tencent didn’t respond to TechNode’s inquiry for comments.
  • In May, Wang Shimu, head of Tencent News, joined the “social platform and applications line,” which includes the Huanhe unit. Tencent News subsequently shut down purchase links for NFTs on July 1 (in Chinese) and released an announcement to guide users to turn to Huanhe.
  • Huanhe is also seeing some slow down in sales. For example, there are 20,245 pieces of NFTs of Master Hong Yi’s calligraphy that hasn’t been sold in the limited time offering in late June. Huanhe is closing the sales for these items. 
  • In early 2022, Tencent’s Huanhe unit told Jiemian that they were developing a metaverse product. Yet, key employees of the unit left in April, Jiemian’s report said.

Context: Since last year, major Chinese tech firms have launched NFT-related platforms.  Apart from Tencent’s Huanhe, Ant Group launched a digital collectible platform called Topnod (JingTan in Chinese) on its AntChain in late 2021, while e-commerce giant JD launched an NFT platform called Lingxi last December.

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a] or Twitter @zhounanyu.