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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. WeChat User Numbers Plummet Nearly 30% in Australia Amid Concerns of Chinese Interference

WeChat has said its user numbers in Australia have declined almost 30% in the past three years, amid questions being raised about foreign interference on the app.

Tencent-owned WeChat told a parliamentary committee examining foreign interference on social media that as of July 2023, the communications app favored by Australia’s Chinese diaspora community had fewer than 500,000 daily active users in Australia. The company told the committee in 2020 that its user base was 690,000.

2. WeChat Tells Australian Inquiry China Has Never Asked to Spy On Users

An Australian parliamentary inquiry into foreign interference convened by China hawks has been told by WeChat that Beijing had never made requests to snoop on Australian users or have access to private chat messages.

The written response by the China-based superapp marks its first comment to the panel, after it declined to send a representative in person on account of not having permanent staff in Australia. In a bullet-point reply issued to 53 questions posed by the inquest’s panel of lawmakers, the Tencent-owned platform also said Beijing could not monitor, moderate or censor any content or chats on WeChat as they were private, based in Singapore and bound by the city state’s laws.

3. Alibaba to Live Stream Tencent’s Flagship Game In Rare Collaboration

Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings are joining forces to promote their flagship brands in a rare collaboration between China’s two largest technology companies, as the local race to attract eyeballs online heats up amid a slowing economy.

Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao and Tencent’s hugely popular mobile game Honour of Kings are launching an invitation-only competition, with the finals to be broadcast on live-streaming service Taobao Live on August 5, according to a press release by Taobao and Tmall Group.

4. Douyin Lifestyle Services Gears Up Consumers With PICO Headset for a Virtual Gourmet Feast in Qingdao

As China’s catering industry clocked a strong rebound, reaching 2.43 trillion RMB (338.70 billion USD) in the first half of the year, up 21.4% year on year, as per National Bureau of Statistics, the local lifestyle services unit under Chinese TikTok Douyin took step to further fuel the recovery of the sector by celebrating local food in one of the country’s tourism hotspots Qingdao in the digital realm.

The virtual banquet is part of a city summit hosted in collaboration between Douyin Life Services and PICO, a VR startup now owned by the viral short video app’s parent ByteDance. The offline summit kicked off on 25 July with the theme of “The New Era of City Food”, which aims to promote catteries, food influencers and relevant service providers in the coastal city as well as those from neighbouring areas in the Shandong province, of which Qingdao is the capital.

5. Lifestyle-Sharing App Xiaohongshu Introduces Image Creation Feature With AIGC Integration

Popular Chinese lifestyle-sharing app Xiaohongshu, known for its focus on photo and video content, has recently introduced an AI-supported text post feature.

With this enhancement, the app can now generate a picture based on text input provided by users, enabling autonomous image-text posting without the need for users to manually add a picture or video when sharing content on the platform. The new function also allows users to draw pictures for their posts and use AI-powered tools to improve their drawings. This feature, powered by Xiaohongshu’s algorithm and AIGC technology, is now available to all users of the app’s latest version.

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 July report, click here.

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