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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. Sources Say ByteDance Would Rather Prefer Shutting Down TikTok Than Selling It

TikTok owner ByteDance would prefer shutting down its loss-making app rather than sell it if the Chinese company exhausts all legal options to fight legislation to ban the platform from app stores in the US, sources said.

The algorithms TikTok relies on for its operations are deemed core to ByteDance's overall operations, which would make a sale of the app with algorithms highly unlikely, said the sources close to the parent. TikTok accounts for a small share of ByteDance’s total revenues and daily active users, so the parent would rather have the app shut down in the US in a worst-case scenario than sell it to a potential American buyer, they said.

2. TikTok Responds to EU Ultimatum on Risks of New TikTok Lite App

A European Commission spokesman has confirmed that it had received a reply from TikTok to an order to provide within 24 hours an assessment of mental health risks related to its new app, TikTok Lite.

The legally binding order concerns the new app’s rewards scheme, which allows users to collect points by watching videos and exchange them for things of value, such as Amazon vouchers, according to commission officials. The commission wants to know how the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform assessed the addictiveness and mental health risks of the scheme, particularly for children, before launch. The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) requires large platforms to assess and mitigate such risks.

3. Kuaishou’s Top Influencer Accuses Platform of Unfair Treatment in A Rare Public Spat

A top influencer on Kuaishou Technology, China’s No. 2 short video platform, has complained about being unfairly treated in a rare open spat between a live streaming star and a major internet platform.

Xin Youzhi, widely known as Xinba, or The Lion King’s Simba in English, has stopped updating his social media since 18th April, when his shopping show on Kuaishou was abruptly paused after he claimed online that he was drunk, and accused Kuaishou of unfair treatment compared with other influencers. He became emotional during a live shopping session, threatening to report “inappropriate practices” of the Hong Kong-listed firm to the Securities and Futures Commission.

4. Alibaba Said to Invest in South Korean Women’s Clothing App Operator Ably

Alibaba Group Holding is eyeing its first investment in South Korea’s Ecommerce sector, according to a local media report, as the Chinese online shopping giant steps up its overseas expansion amid the global push of younger rivals Shein and PDD Holdings’ Temu.

AliExpress, the international online retail platform of Alibaba, has been in talks to invest US$72.4 million to acquire a 5 percent stake in Ably Corp, operator of South Korea’s top women’s shopping app, according to a report by the daily newspaper The Korea Economic Daily, which cited banking sector sources. A successful investment in Ably would enable Alibaba to gain a bigger foothold in South Korea, where AliExpress, Shein, and Temu compete against major domestic retail platforms such as Gmarket and Coupang.

5. Kuaishou’s Beijing Gaming Division Has Been Completely Disbanded

It has been revealed that the short video platform Kuaishou officially disbanded its Beijing gaming division in March of this year.

Only a few people were transferred to other project teams, such as Lin Yancheng, the head of the Beijing gaming division. The scale of this layoff is close to 30-40 people, mainly members of the “Code: North Three” card project team. According to reports, the trigger for this round of layoffs was due to the failure of the test data for “Code: North Three.”

The above situation also conforms to the standard practice of most game companies in cutting projects. That is, if a business unit has profitable projects, there will be one or two chances for trial and error; if a business unit does not have profitable projects, it will be restructured as a whole.

6. ByteDance Dismisses 61 Employees for Corruption

ByteDance’s Corporate Discipline and Professional Ethics Committee has reported 61 cases of employee violations of laws and discipline, and all employees involved have been dismissed.

Four individuals have been criminally investigated by public security organs for suspected criminal activities. Among them, a Douyin employee used their position to illegally accept significant benefits from external business partners. They were criminally detained by public security organs on January 26 for investigation. ByteDance has since revoked their stock options and year-end bonus eligibility.

Another former outsourced employee in product development and engineering architecture collaborated with external organizations to boost Douyin account views and earn illegal income. They were criminally detained by public security organs in March this year.

7. TikTok Tests New AI-Moji Digital Avatars

TikTok’s trying out another AI integration, with some users now being prompted to try out “AI-moji”, which enables you to scan in your face to create a cartoonish avatar for your stickers in the app.

Some users are now being prompted to create their own AI-moji in the app. In fact, some users have seemingly had access to the option for a while, but TikTok now appears to be rolling out in more regions. Tap on the “Get Started” prompt, and you’ll then be taken through the process of scanning in your face, which will then generate your digital character. You’ll then be able to use variations of that depiction to react to Stories, messages and as stickers in chats.

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 our latest report, click here.

1 Comment

lekor adams
lekor adams
May 03


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