China’s ByteDance Technology has unveiled a new video messaging app which will be called “Duoshan”. This is a move that the analysts say would see the company muscling into a space that has been dominated by Tencent’s WeChat messenger.
ByteDance is considered to be one of China’s fastest growing startups and it owns the country’s leading news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and the short video platform TikTok. It has plans of an IPO in Hong Kong this year, and this was reported by Reuters.
Xu Luran, the company’s product director, made a debut of Duoshan at a live-streamed event in Beijing on Tuesday, and also went on to show the app’s chat functions and a feature that allows users to send videos to each other which would disappear after 72 hours.
The purpose of Duoshan, according to Luran, is that it doesn’t have a like or comment function, and this will consequently reduce the pressure that the users feel when they are on platforms to present their best self. It is targeted at young Chinese users who were born after 1990.
ByteDance said- The fact that the video would be visible only to the user after three days “will reduce social pressure, allows users to free their true personality and not worry that they are ‘digging a grave’ for their future”.
ByteDance was founded by entrepreneur Zhang Yiming in 2012 and counts venture firm Sequoia Capital, which is a big private-equity firm such as KKR, General Atlantic and Hillhouse Capital Group as backers. Last year in August, sources claimed that Bytedance aims to raise about $3 billion in a funding round, that will see its valuation grow as high as $75 billion.
The startup’s quick rise has ended up pressurizing many Chinese Internet companies, such as Tencent, whose WeChat app has faced serious challenges since its launch in 2011.
Tencent released a video clip feature and a news reading function on WeChat recently. Tencent didn’t respond to requests for comment regarding the same.
Matthew Brennan, the person who tracks China’s social media sector at tech consultancy China Channel, said that Duoshan resembles US Snap’s Snapchat which is known for disappearing messages. Brennan said- “Duoshan is Bytedance’s first step into messaging, which is a turf that has been dominated by tech giant Tencent’s WeChat. Bytedance wishes to build out a social graph, which is one of the hardest things to do. Tencent’s entire empire has been built on the fact they own the social graph.“
Chen Lin, Jinri Toutiao’s chief executive, told during the event that he hoped WeChat would not see Duoshan as a rival. He said- “Duoshan and WeChat are different products, they face different groups. Duoshan’s launch was followed by that of Bullet Messenger, which is yet another Chinese messaging app that racked up millions of downloads since its launch in September. Some analysts described Bullet as a potential challenger to WeChat.