ByteDance launches new social app to challenge WeChat

It’s its second horse in the race to challenge WeChat. Tencent might hit back.

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ByteDance launches new social app to challenge WeChat

ByteDance, the company behind several leading apps like TikTok and Toutiao has launched a new social app called Feiliao (or Flipchat in English) featuring instant messaging and interest groups, marking its second attempt at challenging WeChat’s social messaging dominance in China.

ByteDance told KrASIA that it hopes Feiliao can connect people with the same interests and “add fun to their life”.

Before Feiliao, ByteDance rolled out its first social messaging app called Duoshan, which allowed users to send short video-based messages to each other the way they exchange text or image messages via WeChat or Snapchat.

That did not sit well with WeChat owner Tencent. It proceeded to ban links to any Duoshan content from being shared on WeChat and removed the app from Tencent’s own app store, Yingyongbao.  

Duoshan has not gained mass popularity, and it’s possible that Tencent’s discrimination against it hurt the new video chat app’s growth potential.

So far, Tencent does not appear to be discriminating against Feiliao the way it did with Duoshan. ByteDance’s new chat app is currently available on several Android app stores in China, including Tencent’s.

But WeChat also suppresses links from other competitors, including links to Taobao and ByteDance’s short video app Douyin, so it might apply similar tactics against Feiliao if it becomes a threat.

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Editor: Nadine Freischlad