ByteDance, best-known for its short video sharing app Tik Tok, launched a messaging service for young people in China called Duoshan, a move analysts state could challenge Tencent’s hugely popular WeChat.
This is despite the fact that Chen Lin, the CEO of ByteDance’s news aggregator product Jinri Toutiao, said at a Duoshan launch event in Beijing that the new service and WeChat “are different products, they face different groups”, Reuters reported.
The publication quoted Matthew Brennan from tech consultancy China Channel as stating: “ByteDance wants to build out a social graph, which is one of the hardest things to do…Tencent’s entire empire is built on the fact they own the social graph.”
WeChat is not just used for messaging, but serves as a social networking platform through which users can order food deliveries, book taxis and make mobile payments. The app hit 1 billion monthly active users in 2018.
At the time Tencent CEO Ma Huateng said some 688 million WeChat users had sent or received digital versions of monetary gifts known as hongbao during the holiday season around Chinese New Year. Traditionally, these gifts were delivered in the form of cash placed in a red envelope.
Duoshan also plans to offer this feature.
The move comes as Tencent’s online games business faces pressure from Chinese authorities as part of a broader clampdown due to concerns over addiction and myopia.
Tencent’s games were not among an initial batch approved by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television earlier this month; the first clearances given following a nine-month moratorium.
The internet giant is the country’s largest gaming company, generating about a third of revenue from its gaming portfolio.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back