Feiliao 飞聊, a social media platform developed by ByteDance in 2019, is planning to return as an audio messaging platform according to media reports.
It was originally launched as a social media platform for instant messaging and a hobbies-based community in May 2019. Initially, it was described by some people as ByteDance’s answer to WeChat. However, it evolved into a platform more similar to Baidu’s Tieba 贴吧 where users can create different topic groups to interact with others based on their interests and hobbies. It was later removed from app stores for reasons which are unclear, but it never gained a mass following.
ByteDance plans to reinvigorate Feiliao as a social platform with a focus on instant audio messaging. The short-lived popularity of Clubhouse in China offers potential for the platform. Audio messaging is an area that hasn’t yet been deeply explored by other tech giants, in contrast to the short-video market. However, audio formats are immensely popular: podcasts are surging in demand in China with a growing number of related apps available.
The new edition of Feiliao will be part of ByteDance’s ever-growing network of apps which includes TikTok, Douyin, and news aggregator Toutiao, among many others.