China Digital Digest Weekly: Exploring the Chinese Digital Landscape
Updated: Feb 23
Hi folks, we are back with our weekly edition 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. Services Offering Uncensored Access to ChatGPT Blocked in China
A number of services providing ChatGPT access to mainland Chinese internet users have been blocked, triggering questions over whether the country’s authorities are clamping down on the usage of the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.
Since San Francisco-based start-up OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November, dozens of public accounts have sprung up on Tencent Holdings’ super app WeChat, embedding ChatGPT via a so-called application programming interface (API) that enables two pieces of software to communicate.
2. ByteDance Pushes Quarterly Employee Reviews Amid Reorganisation
ByteDance will change its bimonthly employee goal-setting and review, a management scheme that encourages internal competition, into a process conducted every three months, as the company continues to streamline operations amid fierce competition across its industry.
By adjusting when its objective-and-key-results (OKR) framework is conducted, ByteDance co-founder and chief executive Liang Rubo said the Chinese tech unicorn expects to have more time “to reflect on truly meaningful progress” and “be more flexible” so that every business unit can “adjust its own cadence”.
3. Alibaba Bolsters Navigation App Amap In Shake-Up At Local Consumer Services Unit
Alibaba Group Holding is consolidating certain operations in its local consumer services business segment, as the Chinese e-commerce giant repositions its resources to cope with increased competition in a vast mainland market that is projected to reach US$5 trillion by 2025.
Hangzhou-based Alibaba has decided to merge its Koubei restaurant review feature into the Amap app, which provides mobile digital map, navigation and real-time traffic information, as well as a ride-hailing aggregator that competes with Didi Chuxing on the mainland.
4. Mainland China’s Meituan Recruits Hong Kong Riders to Take on Foodpanda & Deliveroo
Chinese on-demand local services giant Meituan has started recruiting riders in Hong Kong, signaling the company’s move to expand in the local food delivery market dominated by Foodpanda and Deliveroo.
Apart from riders, Meituan is also looking to hire so-called foot soldiers who are dispatched on foot to make deliveries, according to a recruitment document posted on the company’s Telegram channel.
5. JD Prepares For Major Offensive On Pinduoduo’s Budget Stronghold
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is launching a 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) subsidy campaign in early March to compete against rival PDD Holdings, whose budget shopping app Pinduoduo has been on a meteoric rise, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, as China’s e-commerce market slows down.
The subsidies will cover both JD.com’s self-operated online shops, and storefronts set up by third parties on its platform. The company is still in the process of hammering out the details and readying its system before the campaign begins next month, one of the sources said.
6. US Sales Soar For PDD’s Temu Budget Shopping App Amid Expansion Into Canada
PDD Holdings subsidiary Temu, the Boston-based budget shopping app operator, saw its weekly sales surge to reach a new all-time high earlier this month, ahead of the airing of its television advertisement during the broadcast of Super Bowl LVII on February 12 in the United States.
Launched in the US last September, Temu recorded a gross merchandise volume exceeding US$50 million in the week through February 5, according to the latest figures from New York-based market research firm YipitData.
7. TikTok TV Launches in Malaysia
Short-video platform TikTok has launched its TV app in Malaysia. It is available to download on Samsung Smart TVs, LG devices, and Android TV OS devices.
The platform will enable users to log into their accounts on their TVs, showing their personalized ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ video feeds. In 2020, the Chinese tech firm first launched its dedicated TV app with features similar to its mobile platform on Samsung Smart TVs in the UK. It’s unclear whether TikTok TV is available in other SEA countries.
8. Baidu’s Net Income Almost Triples in Q4
China-based tech major Baidu has nearly tripled its Q4 2022 net income to US$718 million from a year ago. The company had posted a net loss in the preceding quarter.
However, the company’s Q4 net revenue stayed flat at roughly US$4.8 billion, compared both to its results last year and the previous quarter. Meanwhile, operating income saw a 135% year-over-year surge to US$666 million, while adjusted EBITDA was up 43% at US$1.2 billion.
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 February report, click here.