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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 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. EU investigates TikTok, YouTube Over Child And Consumer Protection



The EU has announced investigations into YouTube and TikTok to find out what action the US and Chinese-owned platforms are taking to ensure the safety of minors.



The European Commission said it had sent formal requests for information to TikTok and YouTube respectively, the first step in procedures launched under the EU’s new law on digital content. The EU’s executive arm said it wanted to know what measures the video-sharing platforms have taken to comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA), especially regarding the risks posed to children’s mental and physical health.


2. Nepal Bans China’s TikTok for ‘Disturbing Social Harmony’



Nepal’s government has decided to ban the popular social media app TikTok, saying it was disrupting “social harmony” in the country.



The announcement was made following a Cabinet meeting. It was not clear what triggered the ban or if TikTok had refused to comply with Nepal’s requests. Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud said the app would be banned immediately. He said that to make social media platforms accountable, the government has asked the companies to register and open a liaison office in Nepal, pay taxes, and abide by the country’s laws and regulations.


3. Alibaba, JD.Com Post Singles’ Day Sales Growth But Withhold Sales Tally



Alibaba Group Holding and JD.com have said that they have achieved sales growth during this year’s Singles’ Day shopping festival, but stopped short of disclosing exact revenue numbers for the second straight year, as they grapple with a stop-start economic recovery in China and a brutal price war.



Alibaba said its gross merchandise value (GMV) as well as the number of orders and participating merchants, all recorded year-on-year growth during this shopping season, which started with a presale period on its platforms on October 24 and concluded on November 11. On the other hand, JD.com, which kicked off its Double 11 campaign on October 23, has said that transaction volume, order volume, and user engagement reached all-time highs, calling this year’s shopping festival another “record-breaking” event.


4. China Tech Firms Make Consumer Push On Generative AI



Chinese Big Tech firms are ramping up efforts to make money from consumer-facing generative artificial intelligence (AI) services in a market where OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have no access.



With China’s annual Singles' Day shopping festival in full flow, Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao marketplace has featured a shop with a new kind of virtual product – a digital assistant called Duxiaoxiao. This range of virtual assistants are powered by Ernie Bot, Baidu’s AI chatbot, and is tailored to buyers’ preferences. The shop, which is just days old, has garnered more than 20,000 followers, with over 600 items sold, according to Taobao shop records. Meanwhile, Chinese delivery services giant Meituan recently launched its generative AI service Wow, a chatbot hailed as a “community of AI friends for youngsters”, which responds to user questions with a personal touch.


5. Pinduoduo Worst Among China’s E-Commerce Vendors In Climate Plans: Greenpeace



Pinduoduo, China’s second-largest e-commerce platform, performs the worst among its peers in environmental actions, lacking in strategies and disclosures on climate change, biodiversity, and waste management, according to Greenpeace.



Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the country’s largest e-commerce platform Taobao, topped the rankings for a second consecutive year, according to a report released by the environmental group. Vipshop came in second, followed by JD.com, ByteDance, Kuaishou, and Pinduoduo, which also ranked at the bottom of last year’s report. The Greenpeace report ranked the six platforms on their climate commitments, actual performance, disclosures, and auditing, as well as their response to environmental risks for biodiversity, waste, and hazardous chemicals.


6. Alibaba CEO Commits to AI With Aim to Become ‘Open Tech Platform’



Alibaba Group Holding, the e-commerce giant founded by Jack Ma that changed the way Chinese consumers shop, is remaking itself as an “open technology platform”, riding on a wave of rapid artificial intelligence (AI) innovation, new CEO Eddie Wu Yongming has said.



It was the first time that Wu, an Alibaba co-founder who took the reins from Daniel Zhang Yong in September, spoke publicly about his vision for the 24-year-old tech giant, which is undergoing a sweeping restructuring to break its sprawling business into six units, including e-commerce, cloud computing and entertainment. While Alibaba’s e-commerce operations, Taobao and Tmall Group, remain the bread and butter of Alibaba’s business, contributing the most revenues and profits, Wu said the future of the company rests in AI.


7. TikTok Announces LIVE Fest to Highlight Top Streaming Talent




TikTok has announced LIVE Fest to highlight some of the top live-stream talent in the app, while also giving creators a chance to participate in live challenges and activations. TikTok says that the event will begin “later this month”. There’s no specific date, though in another overview of the event, TikTok says that the “tournament period” of LIVE Fest will be between December 1st and December 16th.


8. TikTok Launches Integration With Music Streaming Platforms



TikTok’s looking to further solidify its connection to the recording industry via a new “Add to Music App” option in the app, which will enable you to add tracks that you hear in TikTok clips to your music library on your preferred streaming service.



Now, when you hear a song you like on TikTok, you’ll be able to tap through and add it to your Apple Music, Spotify, or Amazon catalog. What’s more, the system will learn your platform of choice, and provide you with more options to save your tracks to selected playlists or categories in your listings.


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 November report, click here.


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