China Digital Digest Weekly: Exploring the Chinese Digital Landscape
Hi folks, we are back with another segment of China’s Digital Digest, wherein we would bring you weekly updates on China’s digital space. 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. Facebook Owner Meta’s AI Speech Translation Tool for Hokkien Language Draws Interest in China
Facebook owner Meta Platforms’ new real-time speech translation system for Hokkien, a dialect widely spoken in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, the self-ruled island of Taiwan and Chinese diaspora communities across Southeast Asia, has garnered strong interest on the mainland, where the social media platform is blocked.
The artificial intelligence (AI) system, which can translate between spoken Hokkien and English, is part of Meta’s efforts to “break down language barriers in both the physical world and the metaverse”, the US tech giant said last week in a blog post.
2. Amazon Competitor Temu Ranks Third in App Downloads After a Month
Serving the North American market but owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo, the new e-commerce platform Temu launched just over a month ago. Since then it has expanded its merchandise range to more than 100 categories of goods on its website and app, including fashion, jewelry, health, and home supplies. A vast supply chain, low prices, and a fresh approach to wooing global shoppers have led Temu downloads to continuously climb in the App Store.
According to Apple’s App Store data, Temu ranked fifth in the shopping section of downloads in the US on October 15, then climbed up to second place on October 17, finally ranking first on October 18. As of October 19, Temu ranked third receiving 370 reviews with 3.8 stars, just falling behind Amazon Shopping and Chinese fast fashion label Shein, which received an average rating of 4.9 and 4.7 stars, respectively.
3. China’s Cryptocurrency Market Still Among World’s Strongest Despite Beijing’s Crackdown on Trading, Mining of Digital Assets
Mainland China remains East Asia’s largest cryptocurrency market in terms of transaction turnover and ranked fourth worldwide, despite Beijing’s crackdown on the trading and mining of these digital assets, according to a new report from American blockchain research firm Chainalysis.
The country recorded more than US$220 billion in total transactions between June 2021 and July 2022, surpassing those of South Korea and Japan in the same period, according to the latest report.
4. Shein Launches Second-Hand Retail Platform ‘Shein Exchange’
Fast fashion retailer Shein announced the launch of Shein Exchange, an integrated online peer-to-peer resale platform where users can buy and sell previously-owned Shein products.
The feature was created in partnership with Treet, a US-based resale technology platform.
Currently, a pilot program of Shein Exchange is underway exclusively in the US, with plans to expand to other global markets in 2023. Accessed through the existing Shein app, the latest feature simplifies the resale process for sellers to list their items on the platform.
5. China’s e-Commerce Giants Fight for Consumer Eyeballs in World’s Biggest Shopping Festival Amid Economic Headwinds and Fierce Competition
Alibaba Group Holding, JD.com, and Pinduoduo have kicked off the Singles’ Day sales season, still the world’s biggest shopping festival, as China’s top e-commerce players brave weak consumer spending, fierce competition, and a fresh slump for the stock market on Monday.
Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, started its shopping festival on Monday evening, with consumers encouraged to pay a deposit to secure the best prices and checkout slots. JD.com began presales for the festival four days ago with a variety of promotions while Pinduoduo, which delivered a strong set of financial results in the second quarter, kicked off its sales efforts with a series of deep discounts to woo consumers.
6. Tiktok Denies Report Data Used to Track or ‘Target’ US Citizens
TikTok has denied it is used to “target” US citizens following a report that its Chinese parent planned to track the location of people via the video-sharing app. A report by Forbes claimed that, in at least two cases, a China-based team at ByteDance, the platform’s owner, planned to collect TikTok data about the location of a US citizen.
The alleged tracking of US citizens was to be carried out by ByteDance’s internal audit and risk control team, Forbes said, which conducts investigations into misconduct by current and former ByteDance employees. However, the US business publication said the two unnamed Americans had never been employed by ByteDance.
7. Douyin Adds Shopping to Bytedance News App, Prepares Movie Ticketing Service in e-Commerce Push
Short video app Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, is accelerating its e-commerce push and venturing into movie ticketing as owner ByteDance doubles down on efforts to turn its massive user base into a steady stream of revenue.
The Beijing-based company is looking to leverage the combined user base of its two biggest apps. Its flagship short video app, with 600 million daily active users in China, has launched a special shopping channel on Jinri Toutiao, ByteDance’s news aggregation app. It allows consumers to link their Douyin account and shop or watch product videos within the news app.
8. China Using Influencers to Whitewash Human Rights Abuses, Report Finds
The Chinese Communist party is using social media influencers from troubled regions like Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia to whitewash human rights abuses through an increasingly sophisticated propaganda campaign, a report has claimed.
The report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), described the videos by “frontier influencers” as a growing part of Beijing’s “propaganda arsenal”.
9. Tencent Denies Rumors of China Mobile Involvement
Chinese tech giant Tencent has denied rumors of the multimedia service provider China Mobile taking a stake in the company.
Tencent’s first rapid development phase was supported by China Mobile. In late 2000, China Mobile launched a business plan to build a bridge between service providers and users. At present, China Mobile is still far behind Tencent in terms of market value, totaling HK$1.44 trillion and HK$1.98 trillion, respectively.
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.