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. Tencent to Close Live-Streaming Service Now In Latest Consolidation Move
Tencent Holdings is closing its live-streaming service Now, as China’s biggest social media and video gaming company continues to consolidate its video businesses.
The seven-year-old live-streaming and short video service will officially cease operations at 11 am on December 26 due to “business adjustments”, the company said in a notice posted on the website. Now’s webpage version has already stopped live streaming and no longer accepts new registrations, but users can still log on to the app and use the balance in their accounts, according to the notice.
Now users can choose to refund unused virtual assets and gifts or transfer them to Huya, a separate Twitch-like game live-streaming platform backed by Tencent.
2. JD.Com Founder Warns Staff Not to ‘Lie Flat’, As Rival PDD Shines
JD.com founder and chairman Richard Liu Qiangdong has urged his staff to take more proactive actions to fend off competition and fix management problems or else there would be “no way out” for the e-commerce giant.
The Chinese billionaire entrepreneur made those comments in a thread on JD.com’s internal discussion board, where an employee listed out major challenges faced by the company, including inadequate support for third-party vendors and insufficient supply of low-price products on the platform. In response, 50-year-old Liu, who helmed JD.com as CEO from its founding in 1998 until early 2022, agreed that the issues were real, but added that the firm still has a solid foundation to turn around and urged staff not to “lie flat”.
3. TikTok Restarts E-Commerce In Indonesia With US$1.5 Billion Deal
China’s TikTok will invest US$1.5 billion to become controlling shareholder of an e-commerce unit of Indonesia’s GoTo Gojek Tokopedia, as it seeks to restart its online shopping business suspended by regulators in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Indonesia banned online shopping on social media platforms in October to protect smaller merchants and users’ data, forcing TikTok to close its e-commerce service TikTok Shop. The market was among the few where the short video app operator launched TikTok Shop earlier this year to leverage a large user base and to challenge fast-growing online sellers such as Shein and PDD Holdings’ Temu, whose viral marketing on TikTok helped their rapid growth.
4. Kuaishou Sharpens Focus On Fast-Growing Real-Estate Video Content
Kuaishou Technology, the operator of one of China’s most popular short video apps, is planning a new round of business reorganization, which will help it bolster some of its most promising new businesses, including real-estate live streams and videos.
Kuaishou said more than 5,500 properties worth over 6.9 billion yuan in total were sold through its platform between September 6 and October 10, compared with over 10 billion yuan in the full year of 2022. Some of these sales were made by property agents who were recruited and trained by Kuaishou to appear in live streams and short videos. As of the end of last year, more than 100 million of its users had watched real estate-related videos or tuned into live-streaming sessions of property sales, data from Kuaishou showed.
5. ByteDance Offers Investors US$5 Billion Share Buy-Back Amid Stalled IPO Plans
Beijing-based ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, is offering to buy back up to US$5 billion worth of shares from existing investors as its initial public offering plan remains up in air, according to sources briefed on the matter.
The price offered to investors is similar to the US$160 per share offered to employees, which puts the company’s total valuation at US$268 billion, or about 10 percent lower compared with the value a year ago when it conducted a US$3 billion share buy-back plan for earlier investors. As a private company, ByteDance has no obligation to disclose its financial details or share buy-back plans. At the same time, prospects for its initial public offering remain remote amid intense scrutiny over TikTok’s links with China by US lawmakers. The video app is also facing challenges in other overseas markets.
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 December report, click here.