In WeChat -dominated China, there’s no scarcity of challengers on the market claiming to create another social expertise. The newest creation comes from ByteDance, the world’s most beneficial startup and the operator behind TikTok, the video app that has constantly topped the iOS App Retailer over the previous couple of quarters.
The brand new supply known as Feiliao (飞聊), or Flipchat in English, a hybrid of an instantaneous messenger plus interest-based boards, and it’s at the moment accessible for each iOS and Android. It arrived solely 4 months after Bytedance unveiled its video-focused chatting app Duoshan at a buzzy press occasion.
Some are already calling Feiliao a WeChat challenger, however a better look reveals it’s concentrating on a extra area of interest want. WeChat, in its personal proper, is the go-to place for day by day communication along with facilitating funds, car-hailing, meals supply and different types of comfort.
Feiliao, which accurately interprets to ‘fly chat’, encourages customers to create boards and discussion groups centered round their penchants and hobbies. As its app description writes:
Feiliao is an interest-based social app. Right here one can find the acquainted [features of] chats and video calls. As well as, you’ll uncover new buddies and share what’s enjoyable; in addition to share your day by day life in your feed and work together with shut buddies.
Feiliao “is an open social product,” stated ByteDance in an announcement offered to TechCrunch. “We hope Feiliao will join individuals of the identical pursuits, making individuals’s life extra numerous and fascinating.”
It’s unclear what Feiliao means by claiming to be ‘open’, however one door is already shut. As anticipated, there’s no direct technique to switch individuals’s WeChat profiles and buddy connections to Feiliao, and there’s no choice to log in by way of the Tencent app. As of Monday morning, hyperlinks to Feiliao can’t be opened on WeChat, which just lately crossed 1.1 billion month-to-month energetic customers.
On the opposite facet, Alibaba, Tencent’s long-time nemesis, is enabling Feiliao’s funds perform via the Alipay digital pockets. Alibaba has additionally partnered with Bytedance elsewhere, most notably on TikTok’s Chinese language model Douyin the place sure customers can promote items by way of Taobao shops.
In all, Flipchat is extra paying homage to one other blossoming social app — Tencent-backed Jike — than WeChat. Jike (pronounced ‘gee-keh’) lets individuals uncover content material and join with one another primarily based on varied matters, making it one of many closest counterparts to Reddit in China.
Jike’s CEO Wa Nen has taken observed of Feiliao, commenting with the 👌 emoji on his Jike feed, saying no extra.
“I believe [Feiliao] is a product anchored in ‘communities’, equivalent to teams for hobbies, key opinion leaders/celebrities, individuals from the identical metropolis, and alumni,” a product supervisor for a Chinese language enterprise software program startup informed TechCrunch after attempting out the app.
Although Feiliao isn’t a direct tackle WeChat, there’s little doubt that the battle between Bytedance and Tencent has heated up tremendously as the previous’s military of apps captures extra consumer consideration.
Based on a brand new report printed by analysis agency Questmobile, ByteDance accounted for 11.three % of Chinese language customers’ complete time spent on ‘big apps’ — those who surpassed 100 million MAUs — in March, in comparison with eight.2 % a yr earlier. The proportion managed by Tencent was 43.eight % in March, down from 47.5 %, whereas the remaining share, divided between Alibaba, Baidu and others, grew solely barely from 44.three % to 44.9 % over the previous yr.
(Corrects title in caption on Could 20 to say “Wa Nen”, not “Wa Ren”.)