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Chinese AI social media apps gain traction abroad, lag at home

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jun 13, 2024

Chinese AI social media apps gain traction abroad, lag at home

Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) companies are experiencing a noticeable increase in demand for their social media applications in international markets, contrasting with the more moderate uptake on the mainland. This trend is exemplified by the Shanghai-based generative AI start-up, MiniMax, which has demonstrated remarkable success with its Talkie app. This app has more than doubled its traffic to 1.32 million views in May, a significant leap indicating its burgeoning popularity overseas.

MiniMax, backed by major investors like Alibaba Group Holding, has positioned itself as a key player in the generative AI sector. Its flagship product, the Talkie app, allows users to customize avatars and engage with virtual chat companions. The application’s success is highlighted by its impressive growth metrics which starkly contrast with its performance on the mainland.

  • International Views in May: 1.32 million
  • Growth Rate: Over 150% month-over-month
  • Main Competitor: with 318 million views and a 21.6% growth rate

While Talkie thrives abroad, its Chinese counterpart, Xingye, has not fared as well, amassing just 422,000 views in the same period. This difference illustrates the varied market dynamics between domestic and international arenas.

Domestic vs. International Market Reception

  • Talkie International Rank: Top 6 entertainment apps in the US since May 20
  • Xingye Rank in China: Fluctuated between 29th and 8th in social networking

Yan Junjie, MiniMax co-founder and former executive at AI giant SenseTime, noted that the competition in foreign markets is more open compared to China, where large tech firms dominate the landscape. This sentiment is echoed by industry moves such as Tencent Music Entertainment’s shift to focus its Weiban AI chatbot on overseas markets, ceasing operations in China.

The broader implication is that Chinese AI firms are increasingly looking abroad to expand their user base and influence, driven by a more competitive and less restrictive environment. This is indicative of a strategic pivot that could define the future trajectories of these companies.

  • MiniMax’s New Strategy: Focusing more on less saturated markets
  • Regulatory Challenges: Tighter controls in China leading to app removals like Glow and Alienchat
  • Emergence of ‘AI Tigers’: MiniMax among the ‘four new AI tigers’ including Baichuan, Zhipu AI, and Moonshot AI

The ongoing developments suggest a potential reshaping of the AI landscape, with Chinese companies possibly adjusting their focus and strategies based on geographic and regulatory nuances. The decision by MiniMax and others to prioritize international markets over domestic ones could herald a new era of global AI competition and collaboration.

  • Expansion Plans: Broader international reach
  • Innovation Focus: Continued development in generative AI technologies
  • Market Adaptation: Tailoring applications to meet diverse consumer preferences globally

The contrasting fortunes of Chinese AI applications like Talkie and Xingye in domestic versus international markets underscore a pivotal phase for the industry. As these companies navigate through regulatory landscapes and market dynamics, their strategies and adaptations will likely offer valuable insights into the evolving role of AI in global technology and media ecosystems.

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Featured Image courtesy of DALL-E by ChatGPT

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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