(Yicai Global) Oct. 10 -- Copyright complaints about two images from a partner content provider are the reason Bullet Messenger, which hopes to compete against social media giant WeChat, was taken down from the Apple App Store just 51 days after its release, according to the program's Chinese developer.
iOS users in China have been unable to find the app, named Ziduan Duanxin in Chinese, since yesterday, Yicai Global reported the same day. Beijing-based Kuairu Technology, which made the program, said it was working on a solution to the problem.
Bullet Messenger hit app stores in August this year and was an immediate success, topping the App Stores charts on its launch day and receiving millions of downloads within a week of its release, allowing Kuairu to quickly obtain CNY150 million (USD21.7 million) in funding. The firm had already been received cash from Chinese electronic device maker Smartisan Technology and was worth around CNY600 million at the time, according to tech portal Kuai Keji.
The software's primary focus is offering rapid messaging, and it uses speech-to-text technology developed by Iflytek, a Chinese specialist in voice recognition, to allow for quicker messaging than on rival WeChat, made by tech titan Tencent Holdings. The newcomer lacks a social function allowing users to share pictures or links to their entire friend network at once, but looks like it plans to challenge the messaging giant in China's mobile payments sector, which saw transactions worth CNY81 trillion (USD12.8 trillion) take place last year.
Founder Luo Yonghao said in August that Bullet was planning to integrate with Alipay, China's biggest third-party payment provider and a huge rival of WeChat's payments services. The pair combine for a 90 percent share of the mobile payments market.
Bullet Messenger is still available for download on Android app stores, mainly because they are not as strictly managed as Apple's, Wan Yi, an analyst at Analysis, told Yicai Global. Apple pulls off any app once it receives a copyright complaint, and reviews it for quite some time before putting it back online, he added.
The program topped the App Store overall chart for nine days and its social media rankings for 13 days, the company said in a Sept. 20 report detailing the app's first month after release. But it had fallen from glory by the end of September, with many users telling Yicai Global they had forgotten about the app or already uninstalled it, mostly because few of their friends were using it.
Other reasons cited were the user interface and newsfeed.
Now is not the time for another instant messaging app, independent analyst Hong Bo told Yicai Global. Nobody can replicate the success of Tencent's QQ on computers or WeChat on smartphones, he added.
Editor: James Boynton