ByteDance Banned By WeChat During The Competition War
COVID-19 and China
Kids use mobile phones to communicate. PHOTO: Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Jan 27, 2019 /EqualOcean/ - WeChat Official Account published its official notice of The Treatment of Induction of Violation and Hostile Confrontation to WeChat Regulation Rules on Jan 25, 2019. WeChat pointed out ByteDance's several apps that have violated the rules: Toutiao (今日头条), Huoshan Videos (火山视频) and Xigua Videos (西瓜视频). WeChat claimed that the ByteDance's products violated rule as induction of traffic, to be more specific, these products use text links or picture QR Code for the users to communicate and spread the contents from ByteDance. WeChat claimed that it has the right to ban the communication of the link, ban the IP address, and ban the account connection in these platforms to these violated companies. This seems to be a fair conducting method, but it needs to be concerned that can a company ban the connecting link and set the rules only by itself?

According to, Since Jan 22, Tik Tok's new users cannot use the Wechat login link "Log in through WeChat". The login page provided from WeChat shows "this application has not acquired the authority of login from WeChat", the same situation happens to Tik Tok's QQ login link as well. After click on the "confirm" button, Tik Tok gives the notice as "There exist issues for WeChat Login Service, only the users that have logged in with WeChat can use the WeChat login link. Tik Tok is contacting with WeChat to solve this issue, we suggest you to use the phone number to log in Tik Tok".

The battle happens since January 15, when Tik Tok's Parent Company Launches Social App Duoshan, and the public sees it as the action to against WeChat.  Duoshan's login link is banned by WeChat on the first day of issue. The banned reason given by Tencent is "This page has been reported multiple times as it contains insecure contents. To keep WeChat safe for all members, this page cannot be accessed now". Now, Duoshan took the WeChat login link off, and users can only login through their Tik Tok account or create a new account through phone numbers.

There are several articles that are widely spread on the internet pointing out that Tik Tok is stealing the relationship circle from the users' WeChat Account. Many Internet users are furious on the data leakage, and then the WeChat Notice is published right today. LI Liang (李亮), the vice president of ByteDance, responded on this battle of his Toutiao account, saying that "The abuse of market dominant position will harm the users' right, and it will hurt the healthy development of the industry. It is reasonable to ban the app under competition,  but spread the rumors, and pretend to be kind-hearted publicly is really ridiculous".

The interesting point is if what LI Liang say is the truth, why Tencent didn't ban the login link to against ByteDance before? My personal opinion is the history of two companies matters.

Tencent is the top internet company in China, the company runs its internet empire based on its 1 billion WeChat users. According to the Statistical Reports on Internet Development in China published by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), there are 802 million internet users in China by June 2018. This shows WeChat is the must use application that needs to be installed on the mobile phones in China. Also, the WeChat users number is greater than the Chinese internet users shows in two reasons: there are many oversea internet users have installed WeChat and communicate with WeChat; some Chinese people have two WeChat accounts, one WeChat account is for life, the other is for work. Based on the traffic the social network brought from WeChat, Tencent furthermore builds its games, news, email and other functions in its empire.

Founded in September 2016, Tik Tok was first not being noticed by the public. Up to December 2016, WeChat has more than 889 million monthly active users, announced by Tencent's official report: 2017 WeChat Users & Ecological Study Report. The situation in 2016 was, WeChat, the giant in Social Network was growing rapidly in China. However, at that time, WeChat didn't see Tik Tok as its competitor. Tik Tok is recognized as the competitor of Kuaishou (快手), and these companies are merely regarded as music short video platform, nothing to be worried about.

The question should be asked, "What is innovation then? Is it the situation that a better-trained horse win the case, or the first car that Ford manufactured and brought to the world will win the case?" The answer is obvious, the innovation always came from the competitor what people thought that belongs to the other industry previously.

November 2017, the parent company of Tik Tok, ByteDance, acquired, the favorable music content application that has more than 20 million global daily active users (DAUs) and 6 million DAUs in North America. has created many innovative methods to attract the users, like the challenge which is called feature. Ordinary people can attract other users’ attention by providing fancy content, and the background of the ordinary people can connect better with the users. After this acquisition, Tik Tok adds many interactive activities and events that were originally very successful in, and Tik Tok is providing its specific music background and the music is widely spread after the 2017 CCTV Spring Festival Gala. Tik Tok increased its DAU from 40 million to 70 million and gradually upgrade its position from a pure content platform of music short videos to a social platform.

Nowadays, Tencent sees clearly that ByteDance could be its competitor, and this company has the possibility to hurt the stable WeChat empire. Tik Tok, the flagship product of ByteDance focuses on the strangers' socialization. That is a different market WeChat focuses in, as WeChat builds on the real-life relationship. This time, ByteDance debuted its close friend socialization app Duoshan, which could really have a chance to attract the users' attention. Tencent dislikes the new competitor, and choose to ban the link to the competitor. However, it is a perfect time for Tencent to innovate its own product and brings a better user experience, isn't it? If a company dislikes the fair competition environment, the question that whether this company can keep being a leading innovative company is doubted.

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