The history of Tencent Weishi App
The competition between Tencent Weishi App and TikTok App
The History of Tencent Weishi App
In 2013, Tencent launched Weishi App as an 8-second short video sharing community that was among the top five apps of free downloads in the App Store. At that time, the short video was not as popular as it is today. Weishi had experienced a lukewarm development for several years, with no big sales performance. In 2017, Tencent announced that it would terminate this application for the following three main reasons.
1. The mistakes in the app’s strategy. Between 2013 and 2016 was the period in which the internet companies accumulated traffic. As a giant in the social networks, Tencent had enough experience to develop products and accumulate traffic. Based on the traffic strategy, Tencent placed Weishi as a social platform of an 8-second video. However, this strategy became one of the reasons to get Weishi declined.
Tencent regarded Weishi as a short-video version of Weibo that allows users to record their daily lives. But due to the 8-second limit, Weishi can neither tell a complete story nor carry too many emotions. Especially for advertisers and web celebrities, who made up the bulk of the traffic, 8 seconds made it difficult to promote a product and interact with fans. As a result, merchants were reluctant to place advertisements on the Weishi App while web celebrities were transferring large amounts of traffic to other platforms.
2. From the first release to the later stage of development, Weishi’s content function remained the same, which is unattractive to users who are always on the lookout for new things. Most users complained about its mindlessness, unfriendly user interface and poor product experience. Despite analysis of users' reviews, Weishi did not understand the needs of users. Lopicca, camera filters, subtitles, stickers and other features were lacking in creativity and the updates were very slow. Although Weishi extended the time of the video later, it still could not meet the other new user requirements. As other short video applications came out, with new features to meet the users’ needs, Weishi users began to switch to these products, causing Weishi to be left behind in the market.
3. Tencent discarded the Weishi App for strategic reasons. As an Internet giant in China, Tencent has a large selection of products. It was precisely this huge selection that Weishi was barely noticed by Tencent. With the gradual reduction of traffic it was difficult for Weishi to make a profit. Therefore, Tencent gradually put Weishi in an increasingly marginalised position in the layout strategy. When Weishi lost the strong support of Tencent, was confronted by Weibo and having to watch WeChat integrating the short video function, Weishi lost its seat in Tencent's system.
The Competition Between Tencent Weishi App and Tik Tok App
The development of an era is always unpredictable. After Tencent had terminated the Weishi App, the short video industry became more successful. By the end of 2017, the number of short video users in China reached 242 million, and by 2018 it is expected to be 353 million. It shows that social media traffic has begun to shift to the short video market. The tensions in the social media market have forced Tencent back to the short video industry.
Tencent decided to explore the short video market by supporting the Kuaishou App. However, Tencent and Kuaishou did not cooperate deeply after Kuaishou won US $350 million from Tencent. So Tencent decided to restart the Weishi App. In addition to extending the video time and adding new elements to the original filters and subtitles, the redesigned Weishi also added many features such as original movies, music video shows, and counterparts. Can Weishi be reborn through Tencent’s various actions and compete with TikTok?
According to the “Kuaishou and Tik Tok User Research Report" published by Penguin Zhiku on April 9, "content homogenisation" is the most important reason for users to leave Kuaishou and Tik Tok. If Weishi can provide new platforms and contents, and connect to other social networks in Tencent’s system like QQ, WeChat and Qzone, perhaps there is more room for its development.
Weishi is currently focusing on connecting to the QQ music library. The existing copyright of TikTok is in collaboration with Modern Sky and Tai He Music, as well as the original music uploaded by the creators. Weishi also introduced three important new features, including video recording, text subtitles and AI camera filters. It also delivers original short videos from Penguin and provides copyright protection.
From the slogan "Seeking more fun”, Weishi emphasises the consumption of content. Compared to Kuaishou’s "Recording the world, record you" and Tik Tok’s "Recording wonderful lives", Weishi has less relevance to social attributes. Today, Weishi has boosted its market-driven growth approach by subsidising it contents by with RMB 3 billion. It may be different from other short-video applications in content.
In addition, Weishi may be able to defeat Tik Tok by its natural advantage in this area. As a giant in the social media industry, Tencent has a large number of users and can redirect WeChat and QQ users to Weishi. Weishi can use Tencent's social media software as a sharing channel to deliver high-quality content to Qzone, WeChat Moments, and more. While expanding its influence, it is easier to redirect traffic from social networking sites back to itself.
From Tik Tok, to Xigua and Huoshan, the rapid growth of a number of apps launched by the ByteDance team has shown that ByteDance has developed a highly replicable product growth strat-egy that is very appropriate to today’s Internet market in China. Without new opportunities and competition, the Internet market is doomed to be boring. From this perspective, it can be argued that the Internet market is constantly in need of new opportunities and new products like Tik Tok. If Weishi is strong at developing and competing with similar products in its industry, it can encourage these companies to develop better product features to meet the users’ needs.
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