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Will Bullet Message Challenge WeChat’s Hegemony in China?

Sep 1, 2018 by Chauncey Jung
Will Bullet Message Challenge WeChat’s Hegemony in China?

It only took seven days for this messenger app to receive an RMB 150 million worth of investment.

Known as Bullet Message (ZiDanDuanXin), the app has been justifying its name since its inception. The app shot to the top spot among the most popular free applications on China’s Apple App Store on August 24 and continues to be the most trending app in China.

According to its major investor Luo Yonghao, the application is already worth RMB 600 million and has received the attention of 51 venture capitalists and the strategic investment arms of seven tech companies.

For average users, Bullet Message seems to have popped out of nowhere. Suddenly everyone is busy sharing their QR codes for others to join them on the new app. For instance, the new app allows users to listen to a voice message from any point of their choosing, unlike WeChat, where the messages must be heard from the beginning. The feature increases efficiencies among chats and conversations. Bullet Message has many of its features open to non-registered users as well.

The app allows short messages to be sent to non-registered users who can see them as text messages. All this gives Bullet Message an edge over WeChat on the potential user base.

As a new application, Bullet Message’s largest opportunity is the high attention it has garnered from the public.

Approximately 3% of WeChat users would consider installing Bullet Message, a story published by The Beijing News claims.

However, there could still be a long way to go before the new entrant can look WeChat in the eye.

WeChat’s hegemony does not come from its parent company, nor does it come from its product quality. WeChat dominates the Chinese market on its success of establishing people’s social network and the convenience of providing several services within the application.

For the majority of WeChat users, it would be very difficult to give up their established social networks on WeChat. Bullet Message has yet to establish similar networks. Remaining a mere messaging application cannot guarantee survival as users find it easier to give up this feature alone.

Having mini-programs and a payment system has helped WeChat dam its users flowing out to applications such as AliPay, MeiTuan, or DiDi for other life services.

But Bullet Message does promise some advantages over WeChat in its messaging features and user experiences.

The app does come with a news feature which enables its users to view news content from Jinri Toutiao or Tencent News. However, matters could complicate for Bullet Message if the two tech giants decide to take legal actions.

Chauncey Jung

Chauncey Jung works with a unicorn Internet firm based out of Beijing. In his earlier stint with Sohu, a lead online-news platform headquartered in Beijing, Chanucey wrote in English on various subjects, spanning from culture, politics to social changes. His professional experience pays him off an insider perspective over China's internet industry. Completed his bachelor and master education in Canada, Chauncey is obsessed with trending technologies and economic developments across Asia. He can be reached at chaunceyzhang@foxmail.com

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