Bytedance launches video chat app to take on Tencent’s WeChat

The logo for Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.'s Jinri Toutiao mobile app is displayed at the company's headquarters in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

Bytedance Ltd., the world’s most valuable startup, unveiled a new video-based messaging service designed to take on Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s dominant WeChat.

Bytedance launched the new service, named “Duoshan,” during a live-streamed event in Beijing on Tuesday. Similar to Snapchat, the app lets users send short-lived videos, GIFs and images to each other.

Best known for its news aggregation service Toutiao and short video clip sharing service Tik Tok, Bytedance is putting pressure on WeChat, which has more than a billion users and is considered a must-have in China. Tencent has used the popularity of WeChat to underpin its other businesses, including its gaming operations.

In a move that will likely boost its popularity in time for Chinese New Year next month, Duoshan will facilitate the exchange of red packets – digital payments that have become a new-age tradition among China’s netizens.

Duoshan will initially focus on the Chinese market.

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