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Head of ByteDance’s Xigua app joins Baidu-owned short video platform

Haokan, which is similar to Baidu’s Xigua, had 110 million daily active users as of last November.

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Chinese internet giant Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), confirmed with KrASIA on Wednesday that Song Jian has joined the company as the general manager of its short-video and livestreaming platform Haokan, after leaving ByteDance as the leader of its Xigua Video unit.

Song, who joined ByteDance in 2015, launched ByteDance’s news aggregator Jinri Toutiao’s video segment, which was later renamed as Xigua, and once participated in developing short-video app Douyin, known abroad for its overseas version TikTok, according to Chinese media outlet Shenwang, which is owned by Tencent (HKG: 0700). Baidu did not comment on the appointment.

China digest

Haokan was launched in 2017 first as a platform hosting videos lasting about 15 seconds and then started to allow videos lasting up to five minutes in April 2019.

Daily active users (DAUs) of Haokan reached 110 million by November 2019, according to a press release from the company, up from 19 million DAUs in 2018 and 1 million in 2017.

However, Haokan, which now features a wide variety of user generated and professionally produced content, and Xigua are both lagging behind Douyin in DAUs.

All three platforms offer short videos, competing for Chinese smart phone users’ screen time, but Haokan and Xigua also provides very long content, such as TV drama series, films, cartoons. Haokan and Xigua show various videos on one screen while Douyin uses a swipe-based interface.

Song plans to add more knowledge-focused content on Haokan and will report to Shen Dou, the vice executive president of Baidu, per Shenwang.