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China Digital Digest Weekly: Exploring the Chinese Digital Landscape

Updated: Apr 7

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. Australia Bans TikTok on Government Devices

The Australian government has banned the use of Chinese social media app TikTok on government devices, following similar bans in other western countries.

The ban underscores growing worries that China’s government could use the Beijing-based company, owned by ByteDance Ltd, to harvest users’ data to advance its political agenda, undermining Western security interests. The ban will come into effect “as soon as practicable”, Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement, adding that exemptions would only be granted on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate security measures in place.

2. ByteDance Sales Neared Tencent’s Level in 2022

ByteDance’s revenue surged more than 30 percent to surpass US$80 billion in 2022, matching the tally at arch-rival Tencent Holdings after twin video platforms TikTok and Douyin drew eyeballs and advertisers from social media incumbents.

The world’s most valuable private tech firm told its investors in a recent memo that revenue surged from around US$60 billion in 2021, according to a person who saw the memo but asked to remain anonymous when discussing private information.

3. TikTok Fined US$15.8 Million by UK Privacy Watchdog Over Misuse of Child Data

Chinese short video app TikTok has been fined £12.7 million (US$15.8 million) by Britain’s privacy watchdog for misusing children’s data over a two-year period.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the app, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, breached UK data protection rules by allowing children under the age of 13 to sign up for the service between May 2018 and July 2020 despite claiming doing so was in violation of its terms of service.

4. Alibaba Launches Budget Shopping Channel on Taobao to Heat Up Online Price War

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has established a new budget section on its flagship digital retail platform Taobao, as competition with online shopping rivals and Pinduoduo heats up amid a consumption-led economic recovery in the country.

The section named 99 Temai, which translates to “99 special sale”, has initially been made available to select users on the main page of Taobao, China’s biggest online retail marketplace, according to a report by The Paper, a Chinese digital newspaper owned by state-run Shanghai United Media Group.

5. TikTok to Face Probe in Vietnam Over ‘Harmful Content’

Regulators in Vietnam plan to conduct an inspection in the second quarter of this year to make sure that the short-video platform TikTok follows the country’s laws on content management, taxes, payments, and commercial policies.

A representative from the country’s Ministry of Information and Communications was quoted as saying that the app has allowed “offensive” and “toxic content” in the country. Since its debut in the country in 2019, the app now has nearly 50 million Vietnamese users – the second-largest TikTok audience in Southeast Asia, just behind Indonesia’s nearly 110 million users.

6. Bilibili Launches New Blockchain App

The video-sharing platform Bilibili has launched an app to partner with its blockchain network Upowerchain, stepping up its metaverse capabilities.

The app will enable users to manage digital assets issued via Upowerchain, including viewing individual digital collectibles and obtaining information about assets. Users may also trade digital collectibles via the “gifting” function, which is restricted to digital assets that have already been owned for at least 30 days.

7. Alibaba Cloud Collaborates With Jaguar Land Rover In China

Alibaba Cloud has announced a comprehensive cooperation agreement between Jaguar Land Rover China and itself. Both parties will work together on various areas, including infrastructure cloudification, digitalization of supply chain and procurement, intelligent marketing, carbon neutrality & peak carbon emissions, and compliance research on autonomous driving in China.

The partnership aims to build a smart innovation ecosystem, create future travel experiences and jointly promote enterprise digital transformation.

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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