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Caixin

The clash of China's social media titans

Tencent and Bytedance fight widely to control online traffic and ensure growth

At the end of 2020,Chinese internet users spent an average of 27.3% of their online time on short videos.    © Reuters

China's internet giant Tencent Holdings and rising challenger ByteDance are fighting an all-out war with escalating turf battles and legal tussles even as the country's regulators toughen scrutiny of big tech's market power.

The pair are clashing across multiple business arenas as they fight for control of traffic, the backbone of internet companies' growth. Tencent, the gaming and social media behemoth, has amassed more than 1 billion users on its popular messaging app WeChat, which connects with a wide range of services offered by Tencent and partners. But ByteDance is catching up as its short-video platform Douyin, the domestic version of TikTok, has attracted more than 600 million daily active users.

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