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Tencent’s TikTok-Style Video Feed Tripled Views in 2022

Total number of views on WeChat Channels surged, helped by a 400 percent rise in video views based on AI recommendations, as well as a 237 percent jump in news video views.
WeChat app | Source: Shutterstock

WeChat’s fledgling short-video feed tripled the number of its viewers in 2022, as the Tencent Holdings Ltd.-owned messaging app seeks to stem an outflow of traffic to rival TikTok and its Chinese cousin Douyin.

Total number of views on WeChat Channels surged, helped by a 400 percent rise in video views based on AI recommendations, as well as a 237 percent jump in news video views, Tencent executives said during the company’s annual WeChat conference Tuesday. That propelled growth in Channels’ livestreaming e-commerce, with total gross merchandise value jumping more than 800 percent, they said.

Channels, which executives said logged 200 percent viewer growth in 2022, has become a strategic focus for Tencent, as the sprawling games and e-commerce giant fights to keep WeChat users’ attention in an increasingly crowded contents market. Search growth at WeChat — China’s most ubiquitous app — is slowing, with monthly active user growth up just 14 percent in 2022, compared with a 40 percent jump the previous year.

Tencent Billionaire Goes on a Tirade as Cracks Appear in Empire

The payment and smartphone backbone of Tencent’s sprawling empire is under growing pressure to monetize its offerings to offset the conglomerate’s struggling streaming and domestic games operations. WeChat’s TikTok-style feature has been a bright spot in the company’s portfolio. Executives have said advertising revenue generated by the new service should surpass 1 billion yuan ($150 million) in the fourth quarter.

Unveiled in 2020, the app’s short-video feature — like Douyin — allows users to scroll through an endless stream of videos or photos recommended by algorithms. Users can now also scout for nearby live-streamers and tip them with virtual coins.

By Zheping Huang and Sarah Zheng

Learn more:

Should Fashion Worry About a TikTok Ban?

The US is banning the app from federal government devices and numerous states have taken similar measures. As 2023 gets underway, the pressure on fashion’s new favourite app is only set to increase.

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