10-second video app Miaopai has secured US$50 million in series C funding, according to Sina Tech. The investment for the Chinese Vine-like app comes from KPCB, Sina, Redpoint Ventures, Ren Quan Ventures, and StarVC.
That last investor, StarVC, is a venture capital firm set up earlier this year by three well-known actors, including actress and singer Li Bingbing. Miaopai claims to have 20 million users. The app not only has filters that can be added to movies, but also an array of themes, special effects, sounds, and music. Users can sign up using their Sina Weibo or Tencent QQ credentials.
20 million users represent rather slow growth for an app that first emerged, albeit in a different incarnation, back in 2011. Then it was called Yi Xia and – before Vine came along and finally got people interested in making short videos – had no time limit. Later it rebranded and went through several redesigns, all while never really catching on in a huge way in a nation of hundreds of millions of smartphone users.
The slow uptake is all the more surprising as the app is marketed as a de facto Sina product to the hundreds of millions of people on the Twitter-esque Sina Weibo. In that time, the app has been passed by Tencent’s Weishi, which ties in closely with the popular WeChat messaging app. Along with the celebrity backing, Miaopai relies on other star users to pull in regular schmoes to the app. But Weishi does the same, making it hard for Miaopai to stand out against the pulling power of Tencent, China’s social media giant.
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Article / Image: Tech in Asia