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% rise in video views based on AI recommendations, as well as a 237% jump in news video views, Tencent executives said during the company’s annual WeChat conference Tuesday. That propelled growth in Channels’ livestreaming ecommerce, with total gross merchandise value jumping more than 800%, they said.
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Channels, which executives said logged 200% viewer growth in 2022, has become a strategic focus for Tencent, as the sprawling games and ecommerce 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% in 2022, compared with a 40% jump the previous year.
The payment and smartphone backbone of Tencent’s sprawling empire is under growing pressure to monetise 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 1bil yuan (RM645mil) 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. – Bloomberg