Chinese Whispers: Lvzhou, Weibo’s Questionable New App and More

In “Chinese Whispers,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that have yet to make it into the English language. In this week’s edition, we discuss:

— Weibo’s social app Lvzhou’s fifteen minutes of fame

— GQ lab took over Louis Vuitton’s WeChat and Weibo accounts

— China’s ‘deepfake’ app, Zao, faces security backlash

Weibo’s social app Lvzhou’s fifteen minutes of fameChina economic net 

After the Chinese social shopping app Little Red Book got suspended from Apple and Android stores, Weibo decided to step up this week and launch their new social app, Lvzhou (绿洲, “oasis”), which combines the layout of Instagram with the social sharing of Little Red Book. Lvzhou is marketed as a non-commercial community where users can discover interesting content across fashion, beauty, and travel sectors. However, the app went from quickly becoming the most downloaded app on the Apple store in China to disappearing altogether. That’s because it’s recently been alleged that Weibo copied the app’s design from a Korean team, which the CEO of Weibo later confirmed as accurate. Now, many KOLs who initially advocated for the app have been put in an awkward position because immediately after the launch, multiple fashion influencers — namely the celebrity stylist Fil小白, fashion blogger Mr. Bags, and Vogue China’s editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung — had already joined and posted on their account.

 GQ lab takes over Louis Vuitton WeChat and Weibo accounts — Fashion Business Daily 

Seeing a positive turnout from gogoboi’s takeover of their WeChat account, the French fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton recently handed their Weibo and WeChat accounts over to GQ lab (the advertising arm of GQ China) to create posts pairing various styles of Louis Vuitton sneakers with different types of millennial nightlife. The posts went on to accumulate over 100,000 pageviews in three days. Louis Vuitton’s frequent online collaborations with KOLs continue to demonstrate an eagerness to engage with younger generations while also backing up what Louis Vuitton CEO, Michael Burke, had previously revealed about the brand’s marketing strategy: that it now spends roughly half of its marketing budget on digital channels.

China’s ‘deepfake’ app Zao faces security backlashXinhua 

Lvzhou isn’t the only app under the microscope this week. The ‘deepfake’ app Zao took the Chinese internet by storm, letting users create TV clips where they swap faces with actors or actresses to post on WeChat. By entering a phone number, the app can take images off of a user’s phone to generate a high-quality video within seconds. However, netizens also discovered a problematic clause in the user agreement: Zao maintains the rights of the images that users upload into the app, causing concerns about potential facial recognition security risks. Zao said it has changed its user agreement to address those concerns, and its parent company, MoMo Inc., said, “We protect personal data and value data safety. We’ve also adopted several safety measures including storage encryption.”