WeChat Set to Join Short Video Frenzy with New Feature

WeChat, China’s most popular social media app, plans to join the craze for short-form videos by adding a feature that allows users to publish videos and photos to their followers. The endeavor is seen as an attempt to counter sector disruptor ByteDance, whose most prominent product is video-sharing platform Douyin and its overseas twin TikTok.

According to Zhixiao Program, an official account on WeChat that received a place as an internal tester, the new video feed feature would show up in the “Discover” menu as “Moments”. Once entered, with no subscription, the system would recommend videos in a single column arranged chronologically. Features including comments, likes, sharing and favoriting. The comment section below a video shows one comment by the publisher, and expands to more user comments after a click.

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Currently, users can post up to nine images or up to one minute of video with text and links to articles on their official accounts. On the account’s personal home page, it would show its published content, followed accounts and interaction history. As a relatively independent platform, each account has its own QR code and can be verified.

WeChat founder Allen Zhang recently mentioned two mistakes in WeChat’s original official account feature. First, for a long time, it only supported creation on computers, which severely constrained content creators. Second, the platform is well-suited to articles, but not for pictures, videos and other multimedia. The introduction of the short-video feature is an attempt to remedy these shortcomings.

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In December 2018, WeChat introduced the snapchat-like “Time Capsules” feature to the “Moments” feed but it failed to generate much engagement. The new feature will be yet another bid to compete in the short video market where ByteDance is undoubtedly leading.