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China Digital Digest - October 2022: Exploring the Chinese Social Media Landscape

We are back with the October edition of China’s Digital Digest in association with wai social. The report takes a quick glance at China’s complex and rapidly evolving social media landscape by providing updates on the latest happenings across the social media industry. Here are the major highlights of the report.

1. Alibaba Deploys Inclusive Technologies to Help Elderly and Visually Impaired Access Daily Services

At the end of 2020, Alibaba, together with the China Braille Library and Zhejiang University, launched the Light Reading Plan based on optical character recognition (OCR) technology, so that visually impaired people can participate in and perceive the development of the digital era. In September this year, World Alzheimer's Month, the DAMO Academy launched a mini-program that can finish early-stage and preliminary screening for Alzheimer’s in 10 minutes through Alipay, in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Disease China.

2. Chinese Short Video and Livestreaming Platform Douyin Looks to Challenge Alibaba

Japanese fast fashion brand Uniqlo has commenced e-commerce live streaming sessions on Douyin, TikTok’s counterpart for mainland China owned by parent company ByteDance. This move indicates that Douyin is looking to enter into more direct competition with Taobao, the traditional leader of Chinese e-commerce live streaming owned by domestic tech giant Alibaba.

Uniqlo presently has three official accounts certified on Douyin. Apart from the account mainly responsible for live streaming, the other two are “UNIQLO” and “Uniqlo’s Top-Selling Items Fitting Room” which publish fashion recommendation posts.

3. Weibo Comments on Certain Posts to Be Visible on User Profiles

Weibo will now make it compulsory for users' comments on certain posts to be displayed on their profile pages. This is to warn users about being cautious with their words on the public platform, in an attempt to curb cyber violence. The new feature will be available for some users during an unspecified trial phase and will be applicable for comments made on media and government accounts.

4. TikTok Owner ByteDance Has no Plans to go Public, Company CFO Tells Employees

ByteDance's chief financial officer announced in an internal staff meeting that the company has no plans to go public. This news comes as a surprise to many, as ByteDance is the world's most valuable unicorn. CEO Liang Rubo stated that many of the firm's businesses have not met expectations and that the company plans to reduce input into noncore businesses.

5. Tencent Music Plans Hong Kong Debut as Soon as Next Week

Tencent Music Entertainment Group is pressing ahead with its Hong Kong listing plans with a goal to start trading in the Asian financial hub as soon as next week. The Shenzhen-based company, whose shares already trade in New York, is working with advisers on the preparations for its second listing. Marketing activities could start as early as in the coming days.

Tencent Music raised about $1.07 billion in a US initial public offering in 2018. Shares of Tencent Music have tumbled by about 31% this year, giving it a market value of about $8 billion.

6. Baidu Reports Total Revenues of $4.43B, Driven by Baidu AI Cloud up 31% YoY

Baidu, Inc. announced its unaudited financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022. Total revenues were 29.6 billion yuan ($4.43 billion), down 5% year-on-year. The non-GAAP net income attributable to Baidu was 5.5 billion yuan, increasing 3% year-over-year and 43% quarter-over-quarter. The company continues to invest heavily in R&D as Baidu Core’s R&D expenses account for more than 20% of the division’s revenue for 7 consecutive quarters.

7. Kuaishou and launch “Blooming Chinese ingredients” event

On August 17, Kuaishou and joined hands with Cosmopolitan Magazine China and celebrity Zhang Tianai to create the themed event “Blooming Chinese Ingredients”. So far, the hashtag “Blooming China” has generated over 1.4 billion views and over 120,000 related posts on the short video platform.

In the early stages of the event, renowned star Zhang Tianai helped shoot TV commercials using stories and high-quality marketing to help skincare brands break into the online e-commerce market. The star additionally participated in a live broadcast with skincare ingredient expert Yan Yan which amassed tens of millions of views on Kuaishou.

8. Zhihu Accused of Using Watermarks in Screenshots to Locate Users

Zhihu, a Chinese Q&A platform, has been accused of using hidden digital watermarks to locate users who take and share screenshots from the site. The watermarks are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen under certain color modes. The use of watermarks on public social media platforms has triggered doubts about the violation of users’ privacy. Some users have encoded a plug-in to remove the hidden watermark feature on Zhihu.

Wrapping Up

The vast and diverse nature of the Chinese Social Media space makes it incredibly challenging to keep a tab on the rapid developments taking place. However, China’s Digital Digest brings you all the latest updates from there to keep you abreast of all the evolving trends.

To delve deeper into the findings of the October report, click here.


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