Feiliao – ByteDance Chat App is Finally Here

Everyone has definitely heard about TikTok, which was earlier known as Music.ly. This famous app was brought into the world by a startup known as ByteDance. Now ByteDance is bringing Feiliao which could be a huge competition to China’s likes of WeChat.

Who is ByteDance?

ByteDance is considered as the world’s most valuable start-up. This was recognized 7 months back, according to reports from Forbes and Bloomberg; both of which claim that the company has completed a $3 billion investment that values the company at $75 billion. A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed that the value is pre-money; which, adding the round, would put ByteDance’s valuation at $78 billion. That’s ahead of Uber’s most recent $72 billion valuation; although the ride-hailing giant is being tipped to go public next year at a valuation of up to $120 billion.

As mentioned by TechCrunch, ByteDance has done the impossible; and become an internet giant in China, breaking the dominance of Baidu,  Alibaba and Tencent;the so-called BAT big three; but U.S. giants are also paying attention. Because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; Google  is also (controversially) developing a Toutiao-like news app for China; along with Facebook which is hatching a TikTok clone.

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It hasn’t been plain sailing, though. ByteDance has been reprimanded by the Chinese government which has seen its services given app store bans; and the company’s content moderation team grown from 6,000 to 10,000. That’s part of the growing pains and in many ways; interest from Beijing is definitely a compliment that shows just how influential the company has become.

ByteDance’s Feiliao –

In the month of January, ByteDance announced about its social media product which would be challenging to Tenent’s WeChat.
On the 19th of May, 2019, the company has released this much-awaited app, Feiliao.

The word Feiliao, in the English language means Flipchat. It is a hybrid of an instant messenger plus interest-based forums, and it’s currently available for both iOS and Android. As mentioned earlier, only four months after Bytedance unveiled its video-focused chatting app Duoshan at a buzzy press event.

Feiliao “is an open social product,” said ByteDance  in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “We hope Feiliao will connect people of the same interests, making people’s life more diverse and interesting.”

According to a new report published by research firm Questmobile; ByteDance accounted for 11.3 percent of Chinese users’ total time spent on ‘giant apps’; those that surpassed 100 million MAUs — in March, compared to 8.2 percent a year earlier. The percentage controlled by Tencent was 43.8 percent in March, down from 47.5 percent; while the remaining share, divided between Alibaba, Baidu and others; grew only slightly from 44.3 percent to 44.9 percent over the past year.


More Insight

In Defense of Tik Tok, the Joyful, Slightly Cringe-Inducing Spiritual Successor to Vine

TikTok’s Lite App Bags Over 12 Million Downloads


Feiliao vs WeChat –

WeChat, in its own right, is the go-to place for daily communication in addition to facilitating payments, car-hailing, food delivery; and other forms of convenience.

Feiliao, which literally translates to ‘fly chat’; encourages users to create forums and chat groups centered around their penchants and hobbies. As its app description writes:

Feiliao is an interest-based social app. Here you will find the familiar [features of] chats and video calls. In addition, you will discover new friends and share what’s fun; as well as share your daily life on your feed and interact with close friends.

As expected by its name, there’s no direct way to transfer people’s WeChat profiles and friend connections to Feiliao; and there’s no option to log in via the Tencent app. Since Monday morning, links to Feiliao can’t be opened on WeChat, which recently crossed 1.1 billion monthly active users.

On the other side, Alibaba, Tencent’s long-time nemesis, is enabling Feiliao’s payments function through the Alipay  digital wallet. Alibaba has also partnered with Bytedance elsewhere; most notably on TikTok’s  Chinese version Douyin where certain users can sell goods via Taobao stores.

Hence, to conclude, we could say that Feiliao is not that similar to WeChat; rather it is similar to Tencent-backed Jike. Basically, Jike (pronounced ‘gee-keh’) lets people discover content and connect with each other based on various topics; making it one of the closest counterparts to Reddit in China.

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Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha, commonly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion.

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