TikTok Owner ByteDance to Launch Instagram Rival

By Lars James Hamer, July 19, 2022

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ByteDance, parent company of TikTok and its Chinese version Douyin, is set to launch a new social media app called Croissant (可颂 kesong) to rival Meta’s Instagram.

Croissant will be similar to 'China's answer to Instagram,' Xiaohongshu – or Little Red Book – and will be designed for young users who want to share their lifestyle and hobbies, South China Morning Post reports.

The platform will offer users a place where they can publish photos and text on topics ranging from fashion to surfing and toys to tech.

The revelation came to light after business registration was made by ByteDance subsidiary Beijing Weibo Shijie Technology Co.

Kesong is set to launch and welcome users this summer, with the story originally broken by 36kr, a Chinese technology and news media platform. They cited a contact in Douyin as a source.

Xiaohongshu is currently China’s only social media platform that offers users on the mainland a similar experience to Instagram. The social e-commerce platform currently has more than 200 million users and was valued at USD20 billion as of November 2021.

From its launch in 2013, Xiaohongshu marketed itself by appealing to Chinese women. By 2021, 90% of all its users were female.

In March, Sixth Tone reported that, in order to attract more men, Xiaohongshu was advertising its platform as a place to meet “beautiful ladies.”

Further investigation by Sixth Tone also discovered that the platform’s algorithm works to fill young male users’ feeds with pictures of young women. The women whose images are shared are largely unaware that their posts are used in this way.

However, the decision to target men has made some women feel unsafe on the platform, as they are bombarded with lewd comments for posting something as innocent as a workout video.

It’s hard to tell right now whether Kesong will be a challenger to Instagram and Xiaohongshu. However, to make sure users feel safe, we’d guard against claiming it is a place to meet beautiful women.

[Cover image via Wiki]

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