Tencent's VP reportedly criticises short videos as 'pig feed', ByteDance hits back

The war between Chinese tech giants continues as Tencent’s vice-president Sun Zhonghuai reportedly criticised currently available short video platforms as "pig feed". Sun said at the China Internet Radio & Video Convention last week that short video platforms offer vulgar and lowbrow content to users. “Personalised distribution of content is too powerful. If you like pig food, that’s all they’ll feed you," he said without mentioning the names of any of its competitors. After the comment, ByteDance was quick to respond to Sun's comment, retaliating that he stigmatised the short-video industry and was very extremely arrogant and unfair on Tencent's WeChat platform, said a report on SCMP.

Despite Sun's comment, Tencent has been moving into the short-video sector. In 2019, the company made a US$2 billion investment in Kuaishou before relaunching Weishi in 2017 and a dozen other self-developed short-video apps in 2018. Currently, Tencent’s most successful effort so far is Channels, a short-video section within WeChat. Launched as a beta in January 2020, it had 200 million users by the end of last June.

Meanwhile, ByteDance accused Tencent of anticompetitive behaviour by blocking links to ByteDance apps from opening directly within WeChat since March 2018. It rolled out a 52-page post with images and links last Friday, outlining WeChat’s alleged misconduct. However, by Friday evening, the post had been removed from ByteDance’s official account.

In response, Tencent launched a 31-page document, also with screenshots and hyperlinks, highlighting ByteDance's alleged misconduct since the end of 2017. The allegations include breaking WeChat rules to collect user information such as profile images and contact lists. According to the SCMP, Tencent also accused ByteDance of blocking links and content mentioning WeChat, QQ, and the short-video platform Weishi,

Currently, ByteDance’s Douyin and Tencent-backed Kuaishou are the two dominant players in the Chinese market with 600 million and 300 million daily active users respectively. 


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