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ByteDance Looks To Copycat Popular Clubhouse App For China: Reuters

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Anusuya Lahiri
·2 min read
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TikTok parent ByteDance is working on replicating the popular U.S.-based audio chat service, Clubhouse, for China, Reuters reports.

  • Discussions about TikTok and ByteDance on Clubhouse attracted interest from ByteDance executives, including CEO Zhang Yiming. However, ByteDance’s initiatives are still in the nascent stages.

  • Clubhouse can host up to 8,000 people per chat room and witnessed significant traction during a discussion between Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk and Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev.

  • At least a dozen similar apps were launched last month, further fueled by the ban of Clubhouse in China in early February. Clubhouse noted a surge in users who participated in discussions on controversial topics, including Xinjiang detention camps and Hong Kong independence.

  • Other similar initiatives include Xiaomi Corp’s (OTC: XIACF) (OTC: XIACY) adaptation of its Mi Talk app into an invitation-only audio service targeted at professionals last week. There are reportedly multiple apps under development.

  • Lizhi Inc’s (NASDAQ: LIZI) Zhiya app launched in 2013 involves singing or conversations regarding games. The app mandates real-name registration, monitors conversations in every room and deploys artificial intelligence tools to remove objectionable content, including pornography or political controversies. The app was temporarily taken down by Chinese regulators in 2019 and restored upon rectifications.

  • According to Lizhi, audio chat apps exude immense potential without politically sensitive content and non-expression of opinion in public in line with the country’s culture.

  • Inke Ltd launched a similar app, Duihuaba, this month that engaged venture capitalists, fashion critics, and other celebrities to host conversations. However, the app was abruptly pulled out within two weeks of its debut over further undisclosed modifications.

  • Price action: LIZI shares closed lower by 3.69% at $8.61 on Wednesday.

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