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China Digital Digest Weekly: Exploring the Chinese Digital Landscape

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. Chinese App Developer Launches New Product Integrating Virtual Characters With ChatGPT

Tagging, a Chinese metaverse social app developer, has rolled out a new app (Tagging X GPT-3) that harnesses the power of ChatGPT technology to combine tags and digital characters.

Tagging X GPT-3 is able to provide users with chat and information retrieval services. As such, users can train their semantic model to talk in the way set by them. In addition, the product carries social attributes that allow users to share their trained virtual personas with friends within the game’s community.

2. TikTok Discusses Split From ByteDance Amid Security Woes If Deal With US Fails

TikTok execs are exploring the possibility of separating from its parent company, ByteDance, to address national security risk issues in the US. This split could take the form of a sale or IPO and is seen as a last resort if the firm’s current proposal with US security officials is not approved.

The short-video app is also facing potential legislation in US Congress that would mandate such a separation. Lawmakers have proposed bills that would ban or sell TikTok due to concerns about data sharing with the Chinese government.

3. PDD’s Temu Budget Shopping App Said to Expand to UK Amid Shein, TikTok Rivalry

PDD Holdings subsidiary Temu, the Boston-based budget shopping app, is said to launch in the UK just weeks after entering Australia and New Zealand, bringing the number of markets in which it operates to five.

As part of the official launch planned for March 25, Temu will exempt merchants on the platform from commissions and deposit fees, according to Chinese media All Weather TMT. The company is currently looking for senior legal counsel based in Dublin, Ireland – the top city for European headquarters owing to favorable tax policies – with “experience with both US and EU privacy laws, regulations, and standards” and a “deep understanding of UK/EU laws”, according to job postings on LinkedIn.

4. Rishi Sunak Hints at TikTok Ban From UK Government Devices

Rishi Sunak has indicated that the UK could follow the US and Canada in banning TikTok from government devices, saying he will take “whatever steps are necessary” to protect Britain’s security.

The prime minister said the UK was “looking at what our allies are doing” in the wake of the decision by other countries to remove TikTok from government phones amid fears over the social video app’s links to China. The European Commission and European Parliament have also banned TikTok from staff devices.

5. Apple Supplier Foxconn Denies Speculation On Dismantling Shenzhen Assembly Lines

Foxconn Technology Group has denied growing speculation that it is dismantling assembly lines at its production complex in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, following concerns raised on Chinese social media that the country stands to lose its primary role in Apple’s manufacturing supply chain.

Reports earlier this month that Apple supplier Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, plans to invest about US$700 million in a new plant in India to boost local production fanned heightened concerns across Chinese social media of an accelerated shift of production away from China, as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate. The company, however, has not formally announced that investment.

6. Douyin Now Supports Alipay’s QR Code for Payment

ByteDance's short video app Douyin has begun supporting Alipay's collection code, a mobile and online payment platform, for payments.

However, the function is not available for Tencent's super app WeChat just yet. Douyin has recently increased its e-commerce and food delivery business. It has launched “Douyin Supermarket” and is testing food delivery projects, namely “group purchase delivery” and “ Douyin Mini Program”.

7. Baidu Launches AI Chat App WiseAI For Global Users

Baidu has launched an AI chat app called WiseAI for Global users. A few days back, Baidu launched the Chinese Version of WiseAI called “Xiaokan Planet” in the country.

WiseAI is an Artificial Intelligence chat community app that provides a safe space for users to chat with a virtual robot who can be their friend and confidant. Whenever users feel sad, tired, or depressed and just want to talk to someone in a safe space or vent their feelings, they can use the WiseAI chatbot to do so. WiseAI Chatbot is available 24 x 7 for users across the globe.

According to the official statement made by the company, WiseAI chatbot uses advanced algorithms, cutting-edge artificial intelligence, and natural language processing technology that helps it to understand and analyze complex conversations and carry out meaningful discussions with its users.

8. Xiaohongshu Bets on Livestreaming E-commerce to Promote Higher Profit

Xiaohongshu will turn its livestream shopping business into an independent unit, local media outlet LatePost reported on Mar. 10, as part of efforts to accelerate its monetization campaign. The head of the lifestyle app’s new department will also be in charge of the firm’s community ecology.

Why it matters: Xiaohongshu’s recent adjustment indicates a push for further monetization at a time when the country’s mainstream shopping platforms have seen live commerce thrive. The move follows the recent livestreaming e-commerce success of Chinese actress Dong Jie on the platform, which demonstrated to Xiaohongshu the possibility of diversifying its revenue growth path amid uncertainty over whether the company will file for an IPO.

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 February report, click here.

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