Bytedance shuts down TikTok’s sister app LetsChat

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has officially ceased operations of LetsChat, an instant messaging platform.

The decision was announced through a statement on the company’s website, indicating that LetsChat ceased operations on Saturday, March 23, 2024. This move follows the removal of the app from various app stores on February 26, 2024.

Users who were logged into the app prior to the shutdown will no longer be able to access their accounts. Additionally, the company has terminated reward tasks and will distribute all earned rewards as credit. A statement advised users to pay attention to their wallet balance and withdraw any funds before February 26, 2024.

ByteDance had invested significant resources over three years to establish LetsChat as a viable competitor to platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram in Africa. This effort included hiring local staff in Nigeria on both full-time and short-term contracts. However, despite these endeavors, ByteDance made the strategic decision to discontinue LetsChat’s operations in Nigeria to focus resources on other ventures deemed more promising.

Launched in March 2021, LetsChat aimed to provide young Africans with a data-efficient messaging platform. The app offered features such as text messaging, free voice and video calls, and in-app games. ByteDance collaborated with popular Nigerian-based social media influencers to promote the app and even visited Nigerian schools to encourage students to use it. Nevertheless, LetsChat struggled to maintain user engagement, with monthly users plateauing and downloads declining year-on-year.

At the time of its shutdown, LetsChat had nearly 7 million downloads, primarily from Nigeria, Mali, Angola, and Côte d’Ivoire. However, monthly users on the platform dwindled, contrasting with the sustained popularity of WhatsApp, which maintained 146 million active monthly subscribers in Africa.

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