ByteDance, which is the world’s most valuable startup and the owner of the social video app TikTok, has launched a new chat application in China named Feiliao, or Flipchat in English. It will compete against WeChat which is currently dominating the Chinese market.
The Flipchat is a hybrid of an instant messenger and interest-based forums. It is currently available for both the platforms — iOS and Android. The arrival of the application comes just four months after Bytedance unveiled its video-focused chatting app Duoshan.
Compared to WeChat, this new Flipchat app seems to be targeting more of a niche market. In addition to being a go-to place for daily communication, WeChat also facilitates payments, car-hailing, food delivery and other forms of convenience.
On the other hand, Feiliao, which literally translates to ‘fly chat’, encourages users to create forums and chat groups centered around their penchants and hobbies. The company is calling it “an open social product”. In a statement, the company said, “We hope Feiliao will connect people of the same interests, making people’s life more diverse and interesting.”
The app also comes with support for payments function, which is enabled by Alibaba through Alipay — a digital wallet. Alibaba has also partnered with Bytedance elsewhere, most notably on Douyin where certain users can sell goods via Taobao stores.
According to a new report, ByteDance accounts for 11.3 percent of Chinese users’ total time spent on ‘giant apps’, which are the apps that surpassed 100 million MAUs — in March, compared to 8.2 percent a year earlier. On the other hand, 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.