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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. ByteDance CEO Wants to Whip Employees Into Shape Amid Fierce Competition

The chief executive of ByteDance, owner of TikTok and its mainland sibling Douyin, said the company lacks a sense of crisis, making the Chinese social media giant slow and inefficient in the face of fierce competition.

Liang Rubo, the co-founder of ByteDance who took over as its chief executive when fellow founder Zhang Yiming stepped down in 2021, made this observation in an online speech before the company’s employees. Liang said the top priorities for ByteDance this year would be to enhance the company’s sense of crisis, increase corporate social responsibility, and focus on a few key businesses.

2. Tencent CEO Pony Ma Asks The Fintech Unit to Cede Share in The Payments Market

Pony Ma Huateng, founder and chief executive of Tencent Holdings, told employees that the firm’s financial technology unit needs to reduce its share in China’s payments market, as the social media and video gaming giant tries to avoid ruffling the feathers of banks.

Ma reviewed Tencent’s business segments and said that the payment service was the only one that was requested to seek a smaller slice of the market. While Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Ant Group’s Alipay jointly account for over 90 percent of China’s mobile payment market, Ma said half of the transactions conducted through WeChat were bank account transfers rather than payment services. He said Tencent should modify its products so that it would be viewed as “a partner of banks”.

3. ByteDance’s Medical Website, Baike Mingyi, Has Been Shut Down

Recently, Baike Mingyi, which was fully acquired by ByteDance, has ceased operations. Almost all of the original five co-founders and team members of Baike Mingyi have resigned, with only a few remaining in positions within the ByteDance system to participate in tasks such as reviewing medical content for Douyin.

Several founders of Baike Mingyi have either moved abroad, become LPs in a well-known venture capital fund, or started their businesses again. When you open the official website of Baike Mingyi, there is only a one-screen text version introduction left on the page. According to the information, in 2020, ByteDance acquired the Baike Mingyi website for 500 million yuan (approximately $70 million) and officially opened the door to internet healthcare.

4. Universal Music to Cease Licensing Music to TikTok

Universal Music Group has warned that it would remove its songs from TikTok due to the failure to agree on a new licensing contract. Surprisingly, Universal Music claimed that the company’s decision to part ways with TikTok was not only due to the disagreement on the renewal price but also the divergence in attitudes towards artificial intelligence.

Universal Music previously reached a licensing agreement with TikTok in February 2021, which expired this February. In its announcement, Universal Music accused TikTok of trying to build a music-based business without paying a reasonable price for the music. Universal Music emphasized that its analysis found that most of the content on TikTok contains music, more than other social networks, while TikTok only accounts for 1% of Universal Music’s revenue.

5. Douyin’s Game Platform, Momoyu, Will Cease Operations on March

The Momoyu gaming platform under Douyin has announced that it will cease operations on March 29th, 2024.

For games that have been downloaded and played, players can install the same game software and continue their experience through official app stores or game websites. However, the Momoyu platform cannot guarantee that every game will provide a game account migration solution to players. Game accounts and progress may not be recoverable. After the suspension of the Momoyu platform, users will be unable to open the Momoyu application, log in to their accounts, or use account information. The platform account information will be deleted after the expiration of the statutory storage period.

6. The ByteDance Version of GPTs “Coze” Is Now Online

ByteDance has officially launched the “Coze” AI Bot development platform. Any user can quickly and easily build their own Chatbot with low barriers to entry. The platform also supports users in one-click publishing to Feishu, WeChat Official Accounts, Dou Bao (ByteDance’s AI conversational app), and other channels.

Of course, in addition to being able to create your own Chatbot, Coze also provides a Bots store and plugins. Selected based on popularity, the following Bots include various types of products such as entertainment, creativity, learning, and even an option for “Marshall Speaker Fans”.

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 January report, click here.

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