(Yicai Global) Feb. 23 -- Chinese news aggregation giant Toutiao is suing internet service firm Sogou Inc. over the release of trivia assistant software, which it says jeopardizes the fairness of its vastly popular online quiz show Million Dollar Hero.
Toutiao's developer Beijing Bytedance Technology Co. is demanding CNY5 million (USD787,000) in compensation from Sogou and calls on the firm to end operations of the software, it says in a filing with Beijing Haidian District Court.
Sogou's quiz assistant software also hides comment buttons on the show's interface, making it impossible for users to interact with the online host and deliberately blocking other users' comments, Toutiao said, adding that as the two companies compete in the internet field, Sogou's behavior constitutes unfair competition.
Toutiao launched the online quiz platform late last year, with users signing up for free to take part in live games on their smartphones involving twelve rapid-fire questions. Players who answer all answers correctly split prizemoney of between CNY50,000 and CNY1 million.
The quiz assistant software developed by Sogou substantially increases users' chances of winning, resulting in a decrease in prize value, which renders the game less attractive to players.
Founded in 2004, Sogou was originally the search business unit of Sohu.com Inc. before becoming an independent company in 2010. The firm's Chinese language input software enjoys a large market share in the country.