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On the heels of teen-focused social app TikTok’s skyrocketing popularity, parent company Bytedance today announced Duoshan, a standalone video-messaging app that borrows a page from Snapchat’s playbook.
Duoshan, which is Chinese for “flashes,” allows users to record and send each other short videos that disappear after 72 hours. The company says it will initially focus on finding loyal users for the app in its home market of China.
Duoshan is available on Android and iOS platforms in China, though at the time of writing, the iOS app was still in beta and was no longer accepting new test users. A spokesperson for Bytedance, which is the world’s most valuable startup, declined to comment on Duoshan’s roadmap beyond the Chinese market.
In contrast to most other social messaging apps, Duoshan does not publicly display likes and comments. Instead, the company says it will share likes and comments to users privately. In the app, users are offered just two sections: one for posting new videos and the other to discover popular videos.
“We are seeing more and more Douyin (Chinese for TikTok) users share their videos through other social media platforms and channels. With the launch of Duoshan, we are creating our first video-based social messaging app to allow users to share their creativity and interact directly with their family and friends,” Douyin president Zhang Nan said in a press statement.
First impressions of DuoShan: Yet another Snapchat clone. Built on the pretty much nonexistent TikTok social graph, with no iOS version. You can imagine the sighs of relief at Tencent head office. pic.twitter.com/ocpIy4qdha
— Matthew Brennan (@mbrennanchina) January 15, 2019
Bytedance also announced that TikTok has reached 250 million daily active users, up from the 500 million monthly active users across 150 countries it had reported in June last year. The app, which was merged with Musical.ly in 2017, surpassed Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat in monthly installs in the U.S. last September, according to marketing research firm Sensor Tower.
The arrival of Duoshan will further fuel Bytedance’s quest to become the most popular social messaging platform in China, where it is challenging the dominance of Tencent’s WeChat app. WeChat, which has more than 1.1 billion monthly active users, is already blocking download links to the Duoshan app on its platform.
While WeChat remains ubiquitous in China, in recent years people in several markets have shown an interest in video apps. To accelerate its growth in the U.S. market, Bytedance has inked marketing deals with several celebrities, including Khloe Kardashian, Nick Jonas, and Nina Dobrev.
“Communicating through videos will provide our users a completely new experience that cannot be delivered through text, voice, and images. We believe Duoshan will play a key role in setting the new trend for visual communication,” said Xu Luran, head of product for Duoshan.
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