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Beijing's done its sums and found a billion netizens watching short video services

Meanwhile, TikTok analog Douyin cleans up 5,000 misbehaving e-commerce accounts

The number of Chinese netizens who use short video platforms has passed one billion, according to a report from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

This landmark number was passed in December 2022 and represents almost 95 percent of all Chinese internet users, the org reported late last week.

CNNIC attributes the boom to both COVID-19 habits and platform development strategies. In 2018, a mere 648 million Chinese netizens tuned in to short vids.

It seems it's not just the number of users that have increased, but the quality of the content too.

"In recent years, short video platforms have continuously increased the supply of live broadcast content, expanded its boundaries, and diversified it,” explained CNNIC, which is an administrative agency responsible for domain registry affairs of .cn a part of internet regulator the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

China's major short video platform players include Chinese TikTok analog Douyin, which led the field with 731 million active users as of last November, followed by Tencent-backed Kuasihou with 529 million users.

Video platforms in the Middle Kingdom come in myriad forms, including game streaming services Huya and DouYu. Baidu and Alibaba also all have their own longer video streaming apps. Alibaba's Youku is considered the Chinese equivalent of YouTube.

YouTube, which boasts over 2.6 billion monthly active users, is blocked in China.

Over the past two years, the CAC has cracked down on video streaming services as part of a wider effort to shape the internet in line with president Xi Jingping's vision of a proper socialist internet in which even the biggest private players behave as the Communist Party directors. Last week it announced its efforts had led to the removal of 54.3 million pieces of information it deemed illegal or bad and 420 mobile applications in 2022 alone. This included 106 shutdowns of live broadcast and short video platforms and the blacklisting of their developers.

The message is clear: Platforms should self-regulate or expect Beijing to do it for them. Perhaps with unpleasant consequences for executives, given non-compliance is nearly always interpreted as recalcitrance, incompetence, or a combination of the two.

While CNNIC has celebrated the billion-user barrier's breakage, not all is well in China's short video scene. State-sponsored media report that Douyin recently took action against 5,000 e-commerce accounts for falsely advertising discounted prices in live broadcasts and short videos.

In addition to short video platforms, the CNNIC report, titled Statistical Report on Internet Development in China revealed the total number of domain names in China has reached 34.4 million. 5G base stations in the Middle Kingdom tallied 2.3 million and accounted for over 21 percent of all mobile base stations.

The country also reached over 3.5 billion Internet of Things (IoT) terminal connections in its mobile network and over 1.8 billion mobile IoT connections. ®

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