WeChat ‘rival’ bags $22m week after launching

Ben Heathcote

In App Deals. August 29, 2018

The Chinese technology company behind new messaging app Zidan Duanxin has closed a $22 million funding round just a week after its official launch. The app has been touted as a challenger to China’s WeChat, which boasts over a billion users.

Launched by Beijing Kuairu Technology with backing from smartphone maker Smartisan, Zidan Duanxin has already surged to be the most downloaded free app on Apple’s China App Store within days, according to data from app analytics firm App Annie.

The $22 million funding round in Zidan Duanxin, meaning ‘bullet messaging’ in English, was reportedly led by Chengwei Capital and Gaorong Capital. The news was announced on social media by Smartisan founder and CEO Luo Yonghao, who claimed that more than 500 institutions expressed an interest in the app.

Zidan Duanxin has an automatic voice-to-text function that uses voice input technology from China’s iFlyTek but, unlike WeChat, it does not yet have a social newsfeed.

In a post on Weibo this week, Yonghao said the new app is aimed at a specific group of people rather than “challenging WeChat”.

“We are creating a niche product for people who care about the efficiency of communication,” he wrote.