TikTok owner ByteDance to launch Instagram-like app in China
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has launched a new social media app called Kesong or croissant in English to rival local Instagram-inspired social ecommerce platform Xiaohongshu.
The layout of Kesong is similar to Xiaohongshu with users able to publish photos, share and comment on subjects such as trendy clothes, fancy items.
ByteDance has not announced a release date for the new app yet. However, the introduction page of the app says it invite users to join its online community this hot summer, which implies that the app may soon be launched.
It is not time for ByteDance to launch an Xiaohongshu-like service in China. It rolled out similar app Xincao in 2018 and Xintu in 2019, both of which failed to achieve expectation on the mainland.
Despite its failed attempt at home, ByteDance has made success overseas for its Instagram-like platform called “Lemon8” app. Formerly known was “Sharee”, the app now has a growing user base in Japan and markets across Southeast Asia.
According to data from Data.ai, Lemon8 was the second-most downloaded lifestyle app on Apple’s Japan App Store.
However, challenging Xiaohongshu at domestic market could be a difficult task for Kesong.
Founded in Shanghai in 2013, Xiaohongshu had amassed more than 200 million monthly active users (MAU) as of December 31 2021, around 70% of Xiaohongshu’s MAU are younger generation users which were born in 1990s or later.
Many celebrities, fashion stars have promoted products and service to users by opening social channels on the platform.
The Shanghai-based company, whose backers include Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group and Singaporean state investor Temasek Holdings, completed a $500 million fundraising round in November last year that valued it at as much as $20 billion.
ByteDance has continued to expand its services and products offerings to take on Tencent which has built a media and entertainment empire encompassing music, film and television shows.
In March, ByteDance has launched a new music streaming app called Soda Music to rival Tencent Music and NetEase’s cloud music. The new app differentiates from its rivals such as Tencent’s QQ music, NetEase Cloud Music by recommending new songs and popular tracks to users with its algorithms, a killer feature used by global hit short video app TikTok and TikTok’s domestic version Douyin.
With the help of Douyin/TikTok, Bytedance has built up rich music resources surrounding musical intellectual property, influencers, marketing channels. TikTok has already signed licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music and Universal Music that enable its short video app to offer songs from their artists for use by content creators on its platform.