Failing to collaborate at home, Feishu shifts focus overseas

Competition among China’s enterprise collaberation platforms sees Bytedance’s Feishu trailing to Tencent’s WeChat Work and Alibaba’s Ding Talk.

Photo from CFP

Photo from CFP

By XIAO Fang


Feishu, the enterprise collaboration platform developed by ByteDance, will reposition itself and focus overseas because domestic business isn’t close to turning a profit.

The competition among enterprise collaboration platforms in China is quite keen, with Tencent’s WeChat Work (known as WeCom overseas) and Alibaba’s Ding Talk leading the way.

Feishu literally means “flying message”. It was released overseas as Lark in April 2019 and was introduced to the domestic market five months later. The app offers users real-time communication, online meetings, online documents, calendars and cloud services.

The performance of Feishu in China is weak. Its 2021 target daily active users (DAUs) in 2021 was 10 million, but only made half of that. It is now struggling to meet the latest target, while WeChat Work and Ding Talk both have over 100 million DAUs.

An ex-Feishu manager told jiemian News that when working from home became popular, Feishu missed the chance to expand when WeChat Work and Ding Talk did. Originally an internal communication tool for ByteDance, Feishu was designed for Internet firms, but by the time Feishu reached out to companies, they had already chosen Tencent or Alibaba. Feishu focused too much on the “user experience” – a common flaw of Internet companies – and it was often the boss calling the shots, not the users.

The other problem Feishu faces is its redundant team structure. In October, Feishu had more than 8,000 staff. WeChat Work and Ding Talk both had less than half that. From October to December, more than 1,000 were sacked, but it still won’t be enough and more redundancies are a question of “when” not “if.”