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GOBI HAS BEEN FOUND! – Marathon Runner Finds Back Dog in Urumqi

It was the news everybody was hoping for. Gobi, the desert dog that joined Australian runner on his marathon across China and went missing before he could be adopted, has been found back after a long search in the city of Urumqi, China.

Manya Koetse



It was the news everybody was hoping for. Gobi, the desert dog that joined Australian runner on his marathon across China and went missing before he could be adopted, has been found back after a long search in the city of Urumqi, China.

The story that melted netizens’ hearts this summer was that of runner Dion Leonard who found a true friend in a little stray dog during his participation in the Gobi March of 2016.



The stray dog joined the runner on his run after he hung around the runners’ camp on the first day of the march. The two became inseparable after running for days on end together. The love grew so big that Leonard decided to set up a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs for bringing the dog he named Gobi back with him to Scotland, where Leonard resides.

But during the first period of quarantine in the city of Urumqi, Gobi unexpectedly run away and went missing. Leonard did not hesitate and flew to China to look for his friend. The search started on August 15 and continued for nine days, with chances and hopes of finding the little stray dog growing smaller every day. Leonard and his helpers asked the help of Weibo netizens, who also spread the news about the missing dog.

Today Leonard and his search team announced on the Bring Gobi Home Facebook page that Gobi had been found:

“Gobi has been found!!! She’s safe & well, a wee sore leg but over joyed to see Dion as you will see in the video! Sticks to him like glue! A massive thank you to all the support, especially the group of Volunteers that have been working tirelessly to find her!
Thank you thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we are overjoyed!”

They also posted a short video that shows a happy Gobi cuddling with Leonard.

Gobi is expected to fly home to Leonard in Edinburg in December, when the quarantine period is finished. That will undoubtedly be one fluffy, merry Christmas.


– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on Contact at, or follow on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar

    Phyllis Hacker

    August 24, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Lift the quarantine and let Gobi leave now.

    • Avatar

      Betsy Detrick

      August 24, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      I agree completely. We don’t want to take another change of losing Gobi!! Please, please just let her go home with Dion. Make this a truly happy moment amongst so much sadness!! God bless!!

  2. Avatar

    Philippet Eric

    August 24, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Nous avons deux chiens du format de Gobi et toutes les heures, nous avons suivit le parcours de Dion Leonard.
    Quel bonheur pour lui, elle ,et nous.
    Félicitations à nos amis chinois pour avoir collaboré à la recherche.
    Eric et Marie-Madeleine.

  3. Avatar

    Michelle Owens

    August 25, 2016 at 11:52 am

    in such a cruel world this is a happy wonderful ending!!. god bless them both – Gobi – little shine run free to a wonderful new life !!!!!
    she was lucky to not be captured by the dog meat traders .

    Leonard you hero 🙂

  4. Avatar

    Joy Gao

    August 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I really hope Gobi can go home with Dion right away, can not afford another missing in another 4 months of time!

  5. Avatar

    Chet Headley

    August 25, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Why should Gobi have to wait 4 months in quarantine, they let swarms of illegal aliens in without a moments quarantine and they are carrying more diseases than Gobi possibly could. Send her home with Dion where she belongs. If I was Dion and they wouldn’t let her leave with me I’d stay there with her until I could take her home. Please let her go home with Dion immediately; she means too much to millions of us out here; she and Dion are an inspiration to all. Thank God she has been found and is safe.

  6. Avatar

    Alan Feather

    August 25, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    All dogs such as Gobi must be quarantined for 4 months when they enter the UK. The UK is one of only two rabies free countries in the world and it would be insane to risk causing huge suffering to millions of animals in the UK because of one dog, no matter how deserving.

    I am absolutely delighted that Gobi has been found and I am sure they will be very happy together once the necessary quarantine procedures have been completed.

    • Avatar

      Chet Headley

      August 30, 2016 at 11:56 am

      When I made my comment about sending Gobi home with her Dad Dion, I was well aware of the UK’s quarantine policy, which I have no argument with. That’s why I said she should go home now. Why should Gobi have to remain in China for a 4 month quarantine, then endure another four month quarantine in the UK; it doesn’t make sense and I doubt that the UK will waive their quarantine requirements for her.

      Too many bad things can happen during the 4 months in China, to wit what already happened with her being lost. For the grace of God she was found; leaving her in China is pushing luck.

      I don’t understand China’s quarantine policy for a Dog that is exiting the country; my take is that it’s another money grab… an exit-tax, if you will.

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China and Covid19

The Big List of Chinese Covid-19 Pandemic Lexicon: Before, During, and After ‘Zero Covid’

China’s Covid-19 Vocabulary: a glossary of key terms that matter in China’s Covid era, from start to end [premium content].

Manya Koetse



Over the past three years, the Chinese epidemic situation has shaped lives and language. China’s fight against the virus has brought a lot of Covid-19 terms and words, and since China has gone from ‘Zero Covid’ to ‘Opening Up,’ there have been many new words. Here is a glossary of China’s Covid-19 terms by What’s on Weibo. [This is exclusive What’s on Weibo premium member content. Please subscribe here for access.]

There are so many words and terms that are used on Chinese social media and in official media in the past years that are new and only make sense in the context of the pandemic and China’s fight against the virus.

Now that China’s epidemic situation is seeing a new phase, and the country is going from one extreme to the other, new words are again being introduced.

It is therefore high time to make up the balance of the words that were used, the terms that were important and have become ingrained in China’s present-day vocabulary, and the recent terms that have been added to the ever-growing Chinese (Mandarin) epidemic lexicon.

Please note that this list does not necessarily give literal translations of each word, but tries to explain what these words mean in the context of the epidemic situation. Many words have taken on a new meaning during the Covid era.

The dictionary translation for the word 清零 qīnglíng, for example, is ‘to clear’ something or ‘to reset.’ But in the context of China’s Covid situation, it has come to be used to refer to the country’s Zero Covid policy, even if the word ‘Covid’ or ‘policy’ are not even included in the term.

The same goes for many other terms in this list. The term 躺平 tǎngpíng basically just means to ‘lie flat’ and it was initially used for a trend among Chinese young people who are fed up with the competitive rat race in China’s job market and education, and only want to do the bare minimum because they believe that upward social mobility has become an unattainable goal.

But since ‘Zero Covid,’ the word ‘lying flat’ was adopted by Chinese state media and started to be used in a different way from when it was used by young people to address their views on life. Instead, it was used as a word that referred to completely giving up the fight against Covid, and taking no measures at all (something which definitely had to be avoided at all costs) (for more about ‘Lying Flat’, read this article.)

And so, simple words such as ‘sheep’ [Covid-positive person] or ‘graduation’ [being allowed to leave a quarantine location], have come to mean wildly different things in the context of China’s epidemic situation.

Here’s our list (which is still being updated, so please bear with us!).




2019冠狀病毒 2019 Guānzhuàng bìngdú
2019 Coronavirus; Covid-19.

本土新增病例 Běntǔ xīnzēng bìnglì
New Local Infections.

常态化 Chángtàihuà

重启 Chóngqǐ
Restart; reopen. This term was also used when Wuhan ‘restarted’ in spring of 2020 (read more).

复工复产 Fùgōng fùchǎn
Resumption of work and production. After the Wuhan outbreak, Chinese authorities started talking about a resumption of work and production in February of 2020. In April of that year, the central government held a meeting and stated that the resumption of work and production was almost back to normal.

公共卫生 Gōnggòng wèishēng
Public health.

方舱医院 Fāngcāng yīyuàn
Square-cabin hospital; makeshift hospitals. In February of 2020, the impressive construction of two enormous emergency field hospitals in Covid-stricken Wuhan captured the world’s attention. The Huoshenshan and Leishenshan Hospitals were constructed in a matter of days and combined they could take in 2,500 patients. After Wuhan, the ‘fangcang’ became a new phenomenon in Covid China, referring to centralized isolation sites for Covid-positive patients (read more here).

防疫检查 Fángyì jiǎnchá
Epidemic prevention inspection.

防疫人员 Fángyì rényuán
Epidemic prevention staff (later also nicknamed 大白 dàbái).

封城 Fēngchéng
City lockdown.

国务院联防联控工作机制 Guówùyuàn liánfáng liánkòng gōngzuòjīzhì
The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council, launched in Jan 2020;
an institutional arrangement made by the Chinese government, focusing on the mission of epidemic prevention and control.

健康管理 Jiànkāng guǎnlǐ
Health management.

健康码 Jiànkāng mǎ
Health Code. Within eight weeks after the start of the initial Wuhan Covid outbreak, Alibaba (on Alipay) and Tencent (on WeChat) developed and introduced the ‘Health Code,’ a system that gives individuals colored QR codes based on their exposure risk to Covid-19 and serves as an electronic ticket to enter and exit public spaces, restaurants, offices buildings, etc., and to travel from one area to another (read more here).

解封 Jiěfēng
Lift the lockdown. “Wuhan Lifts the Lockdown” (#武汉解封#) went trending on Chinese social media in April of 2020 after the city reopened, celebrating the event with a spectacular midnight light show.

就地过年 Jiùdì guònián
Staycation; staying put for the holidays. Refers to people staying home for Chinese New Year instead of traveling long distance to spend the Spring Festival with their family. This word became especially relevant during the Spring Festival of 2021 (read more).

口罩 Kǒuzhào
Face mask.

逆行者 Nìxíngzhě
Those fighting back. This is a buzzword from 2020 often used by state media to describe frontline workers and others as the ‘people going backward’, referring to those who dare to go back and face problems when everyone else is turning away.

气溶胶 Qìróngjiāo

人际交往 Rénjì jiāowǎng
Interpersonal Interaction; Social contact.

人民至上 Rénmín zhìshàng
“Put the people in the first place.” As explained in this article by What’s on Weibo, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a speech in May of 2020 including a segment about “our people come first, people’s lives come first, and the safety and health of our people should be secured at all costs.” “Put the people in the first place” has since become a widely circulated slogan and guiding principle for government and society to combat Covid-19 across the country.

社交距离 Shèjiāo jùlí
Social distance.

新冠肺炎 Xīnguān fèiyán
Novel Coronavirus; New Corona pneumonia.

新型冠状病毒 Xīnxíng guānzhuàng bìngdú
New Coronavirus; Covid-19.

疫情 Yìqíng

疫情期间 Yìqíng qíjiān
During the epidemic.

远程办公 Yuǎnchéng bàngōng
Working from home.

娱乐场所 Yúlè chǎngsuǒ
Places of entertainment.

云监工 Yún jiāngōng
‘Cloud Supervisor.’ This a new word to refer to the people “supervising” (i.e. witnessing and cheering for) the rapid construction of the Huoshenshan and Leishenshan makeshift hospitals in Wuhan via the government’s cloud online streaming of the construction site.

网课 Wǎng kè
Online classes.

无接触配送 Wú jiēchù pèisòng
Contactless delivery.

无症状 Wúzhèngzhuàng

无症状感染者 Wúzhèngzhuàng gǎnrǎnzhě
Asymptomatic infected person. This refers to people who test positive for Covid but show no clinical symptoms (this is different from 确诊病例 quèzhěn bìnglì, a confirmed Covid case showing symptoms).

行程码 Xíngchéngmǎ
Travel Code. Full word is 通信大数据行程卡, ‘Telecommunications Big Data Travel Card,’ better known as the ‘green arrow code,’ which tracks users’ travel history and is also available inside WeChat or can be downloaded as a standalone app. Its goal is to track if you’ve been to any medium or high-risk areas over the past 14 days. The Travel Code was officially taken offline on December 13, 2022.

直播带货 Zhíbò dàihuò
Livestream commerce. Live streaming commerce was already popular in China, and the epidemic pushed the popularity of shopping by watching livestreams to the next level.




爱心蔬菜礼包 Àixīn shūcài lǐbāo
So-called ‘Grocery care packages,’ also 大礼包 dàlǐbāo, are some grocery supplies provided by the government. These ‘care packages’ became a ubiquitous phenomenon in many areas across China where people were in high-risk, locked-down areas. While many struggled to get (online) groceries at normal prices, local governments sent out boxes or bags filled with vegetables, meat, noodles, fruit and snacks to make sure households had some food to get them through the next few days.

被封闭 Bèi fēngbì
Being locked down.

被弹窗 Bèi dànchuāng
Getting popped up. This phenomenon happens when residents receive a much-dreaded “pop-up message” on their mobile phone via their Health Code app. This means that the app – through the use of big data and the monitoring of people’s status and movements – has determined that you’re a possible contagion risk based on where you went at what time. People who received the pop-up message are supposed to report to their community/hotel/school so that the relevant departments can conduct a “risk check.” The pop-up window will not disappear until individuals are officially no longer considered a contagion risk (read more).

被拉走 Bèi lāzǒu
Being dragged away; taken off. This word was especially used during the Xi’an lockdown when people expressed fears of being taken away to a centralized quarantine location after the sudden quarantine of the city’s Mingde Bayingli Community.

闭环管理 Bìhuán guǎnlǐ
Closed loop management. The ‘Covid-19 closed-loop management’ (新冠疫情闭环管理) has been applied to various areas when there were new local cases of COVID-19. It means that people belonging to a certain (work) group are only allowed to move between designated venues for work, living, eating, through a dedicated transport system. This word became especially known because the 2022 Olympics in China also used this style (read here).

闭环作业的高风险岗位 Bìhuán zuòyè de gāo fēngxiǎn gǎngwèi
High-risk positions in closed-loop operations.

毕业 Bìyè
‘Graduate.’ In Covid times, this term was used by patients who were allowed to leave the Fangcang (quarantine hospital).

仓主 Cāngzhǔ
Someone who is at a Fangcang (quarantine hospital).

出舱 Chūcāng
Leaving the fangcang. Also referred to as a ‘graduation’ 毕业 (Bìyè).

春耕证 Chūngēngzhèng
‘Spring Ploughing Permit.’ This is a permit that was introduced in rural areas in Covid lockdown times to allow local farmers to go out into the fields to work despite epidemic restrictions.

大白 Dàbái
Big white; anti-epidemic worker. In early 2022, the anti-epidemic workers dressed in white hazmat suits were more commonly referred to as ‘dàbái,’ an and affectionate nickname that literally means “big white.” In the Chinese version of the 2014 Disney movie Big Hero 6, the healthcare-robot Baymax is also called Dàbái. For more about public attitudes toward dabai in early 2022, see this article.

单独舱室的集中隔离点 Dāndú cāngshì de jízhōng gélídiǎn
‘Separate Compartment Concentrated Isolation Point’; isolation site with separated cabins. Also known as “单人单间”集中隔离 [“Dānrén dānjiān” jízhōng gélí, lit “Single room” Centralized Isolation] or 单人单间隔离 [Dānrén dānjiàn gélí, Single Room Isolation].

单人单管 Dānrén dānguǎn
Individual test; single tube test. This is a single, individual Covid test whereas ‘pooled sample testing’ (see 混合采样 hùnhé cǎiyàng) takes samples from multiple people, storing the result in batches, or pools, and then testing each pool.

点式复工 Diǎnshì fùgōng
Point-based work resumption. An active policy introduced in spring of 2022 for people holding key positions at companies within the non-manufacturing sector that are resuming work. According to the ‘point-to-point’ (点对点) strategy, employees are either staying within the closed loop of their workplace or within the premises of their community. They can only return to their workplace once a month, and are not allowed to stay longer than one week (read more).

低风险地区 Dī fēngxiǎn dìqū
Low risk area, which is the lowest classification compared to “medium-risk areas” 中风险地区 and “High-risk areas” 高风险地区.

动态清零 Dòngtài qīnglíng
Dynamic zero; Dynamic Zero Covid policy.

囤货模式 Dùnhuò móshì
Hoarding mode. Referring to the panic buying taking place in several places, such as in Chengdu, right before a lockdown.

方舱隔离点 Fāngcāng gélídiǎn
Fangcang isolation point; quarantine center.

放毒 Fàngdú
Spreaders. Negative online slang word to refer to ‘spreaders’, those Covid-positive persons who infect others. The word fàngdú literally means to poison or to spread malicious rumors.

非必要不出门 Fēi bìyào bù chūmén
Do not go out unless necessary.

封锁式隔离 Fēngsuǒshì gélí
Locked isolation.

高风险地区 Gāo fēngxiǎn dìqū
High-risk district.

高风险区外溢人员 Gāo fēngxiǎnqū wàiyì rényuán
People who come from a high-risk area (return).

隔离点 Gélí diǎn
Isolation point.

隔离方舱 Gélí fāngcāng
Isolation Fangcang.

隔离围挡 Gélí wéidǎng
Isolation fence.

共存派 Gòngcúnpài or 开放派 Kāifàng pài
The group of people in society who want to open up and live together with the virus. They’re the opponents of the 清零派 qīnglíngpài, who oppose opening up the country and advocate persisting in the fight against Covid.

核酸检测 Hésuān jiǎncè
Nucleic acid test; RT-PCR test. Not to be confused with the Rapid PCR test or antigen test (抗原检测 kàngyuán jiǎncè).

核酸点位 Hésuān diǎnwèi
Nucleic acid test site.

核酸地图 Hésuān dìtú
Nucleic acid test map. A map that shows where you can get a nucleic test. Officially launched by Gaode in May of 2022.

核酸阴性检测证明 Hésuān yīnxìng jiǎncè zhèngmíng
Negative nucleic acid test certificate.

混合采样 Hùnhé cǎiyàng
Pooled sample testing; Mixed testing; also called 混采 hùncǎi. Nucleic acid testing is done as single or mixed according to the risk level of the target population. For example, those in quarantine locations or high-risk areas will always be tested individually but when the area is low risk, ten or twenty results can be mixed and tested together. When paying for own tests, pooled testing is also cheaper.

检查站 Jiǎncházhàn

静默管理 Jìngmò guǎnlǐ
Quiet management; silent management. This concept was introduced as a ‘soft lockdown’ but it is actually also a pretty strict, region-wide static management, which allows people to only leave their homes, units, or communities for nucleic acid testing, or unless absolutely necessary. The purpose is to prevent people to leave their homes for non-essential matters in order to quickly trace down new infections and to prevent Covid from spreading beyond a high-risk area.

静态管理 Jìngtài guǎnlǐ
Static management. This is a kind of lockdown that is stricter than ‘quiet management’ (静默管理 jìngmò guǎnlǐ) and severely limits the flow of people and vehicles in a high-risk area, and suspends all businesses in the area except for supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical institutions.

精准防控 Jīngzhǔn fángkòng
Precise prevention and control.

集中隔离 Jízhōng gélí
Centralized isolation.

居家静止 Jūjiā jìngzhǐ
‘Home lockdown’; ‘Home standstill.’ Another word to describe a lockdown during China’s Zero Covid, where there have been many different words to describe similar measures (also: 全域静默, 静态管理, 停止一切非必要人员流动).

居民出入证 Jūmín chūrù zhèng
Residents’ entrance and exit permit. During lockdowns, this permit allowed residents to go out once per day (one person per household) for two hours, allowing residents to do essntial shopping or other activities.

科学精准 Kēxué jīngzhǔn
Scientific and precise. Used in the context of carrying out epidemic prevention measures in a scientific and precise manner.

临时被封闭 Línshí bèi fēngbì
Temporarily locked down.

绿马 Lǜmǎ
Green horse. ‘Green Horse’ in Chinese sounds exactly the same as the word for ‘green code’ (绿码), referring to the green QR code in China’s Covid health apps. The phrase “Bàozhù lǜmǎ” (抱住绿码/马) became popular on Chinese social media, a wordplay meant to mean both “Keep your code green” as well as “Hold on to your Green Horse” (read more).

密切接触者 Mìqiè jiēchùzhě
Close contact.

密接的密接 Mìqiè de mìqiè
Close contacts of close contacts. This is just one among the many words to label those who have might come across someone who tested positive for Covid in various ways (密接、二代密接、次次密接、次次次密接、一般接触者、同性密接、异性密接、同城密接、同层密接、同楼密).

强制隔离 Qiángzhì gélí
Mandatory quarantine.

清零 Qīnglíng or 清零政策 Qīnglíng zhèngcè
Zero Covid policy.

清零派 Qīnglíngpài
The “Zero School”, or the “Zero Covid Faction”, referring to those people who oppose opening up the country and advocate persisting in the fight against Covid. They’re the opponents of the 共存派 gòngcúnpài or 开放派 kāifàng pài, who advocate opening up and living together with the virus.

气泡式管理 Qìpào shì guǎnlǐ
Bubble-style management. This term was especially used for the Winter Olympics, where participants were only allowed to move between Games-related venues for their training, catering, accommodation, etc. through a dedicated Games transport system. Participants were not allowed to leave their designated areas. But the term also popped up again in May of 2022 to announce new measures in order to allow production to continue at factories and other businesses (read more).

全员核酸筛查 Quányuán hésuān shāichá
Nucleic screenings for Covid.

入境航班熔断机制 Rùjìng hángbān róngduàn jīzhì
Circuit breaker measures for scheduled international passenger flights. To prevent the cross-border spread of Covid-19, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued an official notice on the Adjustment of the Circuit Breaker Measures for International Passenger Flights, which imposed circuit-breaker measures on scheduled international passenger flights with a high risk of spreading the pandemic, from 8 June 2020. The so-called “circuit breaking mechanism” under which China-bound flight routes were suspended for two weeks if an airline was found to carry a certain number of passengers testing positive for Covid was abolished in November of 2022.

社会面清零 Shèhuìmiàn qīnglíng
Zero covid on the society level; safe social surface. This is a word that was mainly used during ‘zero Covid’ in 2022 and refers to a degree of control on the spread of Covid within the communities. This means that all those who test positive are in isolation or within closed-loop systems and that they are unable to infect others, which is equivalent to a ‘safe social surface.’ This word was also used when the big Xi’an outbreak was largely contained in the city’s main communities after two weeks of lockdown, during which over 42,000 people were quarantined and brought to other locations.

时空伴随者 Shíkōng bànsuízhě
‘Time-space Company.’ Refers to those who have been near a confirmed Covid patient in time and space; meaning that within a time frame of fourteen days a person has spent more than ten minutes with a confirmed Covid case within a distance of 800 meters. This means the ‘Health Code’ could turn to yellow.

四早 Sì zǎo
Four early: early detection, early reporting, early isolation, early treatment

躺平派 Tǎngpíngpài
The ‘lie flat group,’ referring to those who want to give up all measures and give up the fight against Covid. ‘Lying flat’ (tǎngpíng) is a word that has been around for much longer but it has come to take on a different meaning during the pandemic. For more about China’s Lying Flat momevement, check our article here.

铁网 Tiěwǎng

通行证 Tōng xíng zhèng
Pass to enter. In Covid times, this mainly refers to a permit to allow cross-provincial travel and business (i.e. freight vehicles and such).

围合管理 Wéi hé guǎnlǐ
Enclosed managament. This officially is not a ‘lockdown’ but it means that a certain residential area of community is fenced off, with checkpoints at the community entrance and exit. Both people and vehicles can enter and exit with a permit. People who do not live or work in the enclosed area are not allowed to enter.

严防 Yánfáng
Take strict measures.

羊/🐑 Yáng
Literally means ‘sheep’ but has come to be used to refer to someone who tested positive for Covid, since the word for ‘positive’ (阳) sounds the same.

阳了 Yáng le
Tested positive.

阳性 Yángxìng
Covid Positive.

疑似病例 Yísì bìnglì
Suspected case.

永久性方舱医院 Yǒngjiǔxìng fāngcāng yīyuàn
Permanent shelter hospitals; permanent fangcang hospitals. This term was introduced in May of 2022 and is somewhat contradictory as a concept, since ‘Fangcang hospitals’ are actually defined by their temporary nature. The term came up when Chinese authorities emphasized the need for China’s bigger cities to build or renovate existing makeshift Covid hospitals, and turn them into permanent sites (read more).

原则居家 Yuánzé jūjiā
Stay at home in principle; Ordered stay-at-home. Term used authorities instead of ‘lockdown’ in the second half of 2022.

硬隔离 Yìng gélí
Hard isolation; Fenced isolation. While some Shanghai households had already endured weeks of isolation, a new word was added to their epidemic vocabulary in April of 2022: ‘hard isolation’ or ‘strong quarantine.’ The word popped up on Chinese social media on April 23rd after some Shanghai netizens posted photos of fences being set up around their community building to keep residents from walking out. Read more about ‘hard isolation’ here.

应检尽检 Yīng jiǎn jǐn jiǎn
Whoever should be tested, should be tested as much as possible; all those who need it, need to be tested.

医院非绿码医疗救治 Yīyuàn fēi lǜmǎ yīliáo jiùzhì
Non-green code medical treatment. Referring to the medical treatment of those whose Health Code apps do not show a ‘green code’, meaning they potentially are at risk of having been in contact with someone who is Covid-positive. (Also: “非绿码”患者的医疗救治.)

小阳人 Xiǎo yángrén
Little positive people, also little sheep people; used to refer to people who tested positive for Covid in a joking and somewhat deregatory way.

新冠肺炎疫情地图 Xīnguān fèiyán yìqíng dìtú
Covid outbreak map, also: ‘epidemic map’ 疫情地图 yìqíng dìtú.

暂时隔离 Zhànshí gélí
Temporary isolation / lockdown.

中风险地区 Zhòng fēngxiǎn dìqū
Medium-risk area.

自我隔离点 Zìwǒ gélí diǎn
Self-isolation site.

做核酸 Zuò hésuān
Do a nucleic acid test.




奥密克戎病毒 Àomìkèróng bìngdú
Omicron Virus.

布洛芬 Bùluòfēn

长期新冠 Chángqí xīnguān
Long Covid.

初阳权 Chū yáng quán
‘The privilege to infect someone.’ This word, which went trending on Chinese social media in December of 2022, consists of three characters literally meaning ‘first positive right.’ At a time when one person after the other tests positive for Covid, it is an ongoing joke about who has the privilege to infect another person with Covid. It is a wordplay on 初夜权 chūyè quán, ‘right of the first night’ (droit du seigneur), and – tongue in cheek – suggests that nobody else but the husband has the right to infect their wife with Omicron. The main idea is that everyone will inevitably get infected anyway, so it’s better the be infected by someone you love.

毒株 Dúzhū
Virus strain.

发烧 Fāshāo
Run a fever.

复阳 Fùyáng
To test positive again. This word, which literally means ‘repeat positive,’ is not the same as being ‘reinfected’ or getting Covid a second time. Instead it refers to testing positive after initially testing negative, with a likely reason being that the body has not cleared the virus yet.

发热门诊 Fārè ménzhěn
Fever clinics.

感染高峰 Gǎnrǎn gāofēng
Infection peak.

黄桃罐头 Huángtáo Guàntóu
Canned yellow peaches. One of the ‘food remedies’ that became exceptionally popular during the Covid outbreak (read more).

加强针 Jiāqiáng zhēn
Booster shot.

检测结果呈阳性 Jiǎncè jiéguǒ chéng yángxìng
Positive Covid test.

急诊室 Jízhěn shì
Emergency room.

急转弯 Jízhuǎnwān
Sudden turn; sharp turn. Often used in the context of the shift from zero Covid policy to easing measures.

居家隔离 Jūjiā gélí
Home isolation; home quarantine.

居家健康监测 Jūjiā jiànkāng jiāncè
Home health monitoring.

抗原检测 Kàngyuán jiǎncè
Antigen test.

连花清瘟 Lianhua Qingwen
Traditional Chinese medicine Lianhua Qingwen (连花清瘟), a herbal pill by Yiling Pharmaceuticals which is used for the treatment of influenza as well as Covid.

盲目囤药 Mángmù dùnyào
Blindly hoarding medicine.

临时接种点 Línshí jiēzhǒngdiǎn
Temporary vaccination sites.

流动接种车 Liúdòng jiēzhǒngchē
Mobile vaccination vans.

绿色通道 Lǜsè tōngdào
Green channels (for vaccination). Meant to speed up vaccination rates among the eldery by giving them priority status.

盲目吃药 Mángmù chī yào
Take medicine blindly; take too many medicines or to take them the wrong way.

免疫系统 Miǎnyì xìtǒng
Immune system.

免疫力 Miǎnyìlì

前疫情时代 Qián yìqíng shídài
Pre-pandemic era.

全面放开 Quánmiàn fàngkāi
Full liberalization; complete opening-up.

唐飞 Tángfēi
This word refers to the two sides in Chinese society when it comes to Covid policies, with one supporting ‘zero Covid’ while the other side advocates living together with the virus and opening up. The first group calls the others 躺匪 tǎngfěi, ‘lying bandits’ (who support ‘lying flat’ and living with the virus), of which the pronunciation in standard Chinese is similar to 唐飞 tángfēi, a homophone which has come to be used as online slang.

退烧 Tuìshāo
Reduce fever.

吞刀片 Tūn dāopiàn
Swallowing blades. One of the well-known Covid-19 symptoms where the throat feels so painful that netizens have come to describe it as “swallowing blades,” which has now become a common way to describe the symptom.

新十条 Xīn shítiáo
Ten new rules. Referring a 10-point plan addressing changes in Covid measures, and basically annoucning the end of ‘Zero Covid’ (read more here).

阳康 Yángkāng
Recover from Covid. This word is a combination of 阳 yáng, meaning [to test] ‘positive,’ and the word 康 kāng meaning ‘healthy.’ The word is also a pun based on a fictional character in Jin Yong’s The Legend of the Condor Heroes martial novel, namely 杨康 Yáng Kāng (read more).

优化核酸检测 Yōuhuà hésuān jiǎncè
Optimized nucleic acid testing.

政治出柜 Zhèngzhì chūguì
Political coming-out. This term came up after the protests of November 2022 and refers to people showing their political position or views to those around them, usually in social media settings. It mostly refers to ‘coming out’ about being pro-opening up or for sticking with ‘zero Covid.’ Read more here.

自费采样点 Zìfèi cǎiyàng diǎn
Self-paid testing point.

(This article is still being updated.)

By Manya Koetse 


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China’s XR Development 101: How Chinese Tech Giants are Navigating Towards the Metaverse

Chinese tech giants are massively investing in virtual reality and in the technologies that are building up the Chinese metaverse.

Jialing Xie



Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality technologies are blurring the lines between the real and digital worlds and are powering the metaverse. Chinese tech giants are at the forefront of the latest developments on the mainland market, including XR, that are making the metaverse possible. Time for a round-up of what China’s key players are focusing on and which virtual initiatives are already live.

2021 is the year in which the concept of ‘metaverse’ has blossomed. In March of last year, the hugely successful online multiplayer game and game creation system Roblox went public with a market value of over $41 billion at the time, earning its reputation as the world’s first metaverse IPO.

Following the release of the 2021 sci-fi comedy Free Guy – which is set in a fictional metaverse-like video game, – and Facebook’s rebranding to ‘Meta’ last fall, ‘metaverse’ became one of the hottest buzzwords on the internet.

The term metaverse is actually decades old. In the 1981 novel True Names, the American computer scientist Vernor Steffen Vinge already envisioned a virtual world that could be accessed through a brain-computer interface, and the term ‘metaverse’ was first mentioned in the 1992 Snow Crash science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson.

Now, 5G, AI, VR, Blockchain, 3D modeling, and other new technologies converged on the concept of the metaverse industry are seeing an explosive growth in China.

At the recent 20th Party Congress, it became clear once again that the digital economy is key in China’s long-term strategies, with Chinese leader Xi Jinping promoting digitalization as one of the new “engines” of future growth.

About Metaverse (元宇宙) in China

In Chinese, ‘metaverse’ is referred to as yuányǔzhòu (元宇宙), which is a literal translation of ‘meta-verse’ – meaning ‘transcending universe’ (超越宇宙). Chinese tech sources also describe the year 2021 as “the metaverse year” (元宇宙元年).

Metaverse is a collective, shared virtual realm that can interact with the real world and where people can interact with each other and the spaces around them. There is not just one single metaverse – there can be many digital living spaces referred to as the ‘metaverse.’

Metaverse is a fluid concept or virtual experience that is still developing and due to the differences in cyber regulations, digital ecosystems, and strict control on online information flows, the Chinese metaverse will unquestionably be very different from the metaverse spheres that companies such as Facebook are working on.

The metaverse is made possible through a wide range of technologies including AI, IoT, Blockchain, Interaction Technology, computer games, and network computing. XR is key to the rise of the metaverse. XR, or Extended Reality, is an umbrella term for a range of immersive technologies including VR (Virtual Reality 虚拟现实), AR (Augmented Reality 增强现实), and MR (Mixed Reality 混合现实). A 2020 Deloitte report suggests that the global XR market consists of mainly VR technologies (48% of market share), followed by AR (34%) and MR (18%).

In December of 2020, Tencent’s CEO Ma Huateng (马化腾) announced the concept of the “All-real Internet” (全真互联网) in a special internal publication regarding the company’s growth and major changes. Ma proposed that the deep integration of the virtual and real world, the “All-real Internet,” is the future opportunity to focus on as the next stage of the (mobile) internet. Although there are some subtle differences, Ma’s idea of the “All-real Internet” overlaps with the concept of the metaverse.

The metaverse, XR, and related technologies are not just a hot issue for Chinese tech companies, they are also an important theme for Chinese authorities. The 20th Party Congress was by no means the first time for China’s leadership to stress the country’s focus on the latest digital innovations. In October 2021, President Xi Jinping also spoke about evolving China’s digital economy during the 19th CPC Central Committee. He asserted that one of the focal points within the development strategy of China’s digital economy is the further integration of digital technologies and real-world economies.

This idea was further clarified in the outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan issued by the State Council at the end of 2021, which listed VR and AR as one of the seven key industries of China’s digital economy along with cloud computing, IoT, AI, and others.

Subsequently, many local governments incorporated metaverse (“元宇宙”) and related relevant terms into their respective 14th Five-Year Plans. For example, Shanghai authorities stated it will focus on the further developments of industries related to quantum computing, 3rd-gen semiconductors, 6G communications, and metaverse.

Here, we will provide an overview of XR industry development in present-day China, going over the key players Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT) along with the younger Chinese tech giant ByteDance. We provide an overview of what they are investing in, what their respective strategies are when it comes to XR, and give examples of the kind of initiatives that they have already launched. To limit the scope of this article, we have left out Netease, Huawei, Bilibili, and some other relevant Chinese players for now (we might still make a part two later on!).


Key Players and Strategies





As one of the leading artificial intelligence (AI) and internet companies in the world, Baidu specializes in internet and AI-related products and services. Baidu is mostly known as China’s number one search engine, but its ambitions go far beyond that. “We want to be like Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the metaverse,” Ma Jie (马杰), vice president at Baidu, recently said.

The company has taken a special interest in building the infrastructure to support metaverse-related projects, deviating from the strategies that focus more on the XR-related content development and distribution that you see at Tencent or Bytedance.


What’s Happening?



◼︎ iQiyi (爱奇艺), one of China’s top media streaming platforms (sometimes also referred to as the ‘Chinese Netflix’), released its all-in-one virtual reality headset ‘Adventure Dream’ in December 2021 powered by Snapdragon XR2. Baidu owns 53% of iQiyi and holds more than 90% of its shareholder voting rights.

Research & Development

◼︎ Baidu launched the ‘Baidu VR Browser’ on July 15, 2016, becoming China’s first browser powered by webVR technology.


◼︎ In 2017, Baidu launched ‘Baidu VR’ platform, which is now offering a wide range of VR-related software and hardware products and services, including the Baidu VR Headset, VR Creation Center, AI app, and XiRang (希壤), which is referred to as China’s “first metaverse platform.”


What’s Live?



◼︎ In 2018, Baidu VR and UXin Limited, a Chinese online used car marketplace, jointly developed VR 360° interior panoramas that put viewers in the driver’s seat to see how interior details come together and to better understand the details of each vehicle such as scratches, wheels and engine models.

◼︎ Baidu’s ‘Meta Ziwu’ (元宇宙誌屋Meta ZiWU), a virtual space within XiRang, hosts various fashion shows for international brands. In August of 2022, Italian luxury fashion house Prada livestreamed its Fall 2022 collection within the interactive realms of ‘Meta Ziwu,’ and so did Dior, the French fashion house which has also launched its first-ever metaverse exhibition “On the Road” (在路上) via Meta Ziwu.

Social Networking

◼︎ In late 2021, Baidu launched its metaverse project XiRang (希壤, ‘the land of hope’) as “the first Chinese-made metaverse product.” In December, Baidu held ‘Baidu Create 2021′, a three-day annual developers’ conference in a virtual world generated by the XiRang platform, hosting 100,000 people on one set of servers at the same time. Baidu’s Vice President Ma Jie, also Head of the Metaverse XiRang project, shared that the main goal behind this project is to lay the infrastructure of the metaverse by providing developers and content creators with the tools to build their metaverse projects.

Chinese architect Ma Yansong (马岩松), founder of MAD architects, also works together with Meta Ziwu as a virtual architect.




Founded in 1999, Alibaba is one of the world’s largest e-commerce and cloud computing companies in Asia Pacific. Its massive success in e-commerce also established Alibaba’s leading position in artificial intelligence and other key technologies that have supported e-commerce, as well as in the future of metaverse.

As one of the biggest venture capital firms and investment corporations in the world, Alibaba struck several deals with prominent XR companies including Magic Leap and Nreal to gain footing in the Extended Reality industry.

As for R&D, Alibaba’s ambition in becoming the world’s fifth-largest economy led to a strong emphasis on technological research and XR-focused innovation and the founding of DAMO Academy.

Within the field of XR, Alibaba primarily focuses on two aspects: underlying technology solutions (e.g. cloud computing) and XR application in its own core business model (e-commerce).


What’s Happening?



◼︎ In February 2016 and October 2017, Alibaba led the investment rounds in Magic Leap, an augmented reality firm headquartered in Florida.

◼︎ In March of this year, Alibaba led a $60 million investment round of Beijing-based augmented reality glasses maker Nreal. Nreal, founded in 2017, has since launched two AR glasses for the Chinese market: Nreal X for developers and content creators and Nreal Air for regular consumers. Nreal Air glasses have been released in Japan and the UK in February and May of this year. In addition to AR glasses, Nreal also cooperated with iQiyi, China Mobile Migu, Weilai, and Kuaishou to develop AR content.

Research & Development

◼︎ In March 2016, Alibaba announced its own VR research lab, GM LAB ( ‘GnomeMagic’ Lab), which aims to power its e-commerce platform and other subsidiary businesses such as the VR content production for its film and music platforms.

◼︎ Alibaba registered several metaverse-related trademarks, including “Ali Metaverse.”

◼︎ In 2021, Alibaba’s DAMO Academy, a global research program in cutting-edge technologies, launched ‘X Lab’ that focuses on research in key areas related to the metaverse industry, including quantum computing, XR, and xG Technology. Tan Ping (谭平), the former Head of XR Lab, shared several of their ongoing projects at the time. One example he mentioned is the virtual character Xiaomo (小莫), who is very versatile and can, among other things, convert textual information into sign language to enable smoother communication for the hearing impaired.

Xiaomo by Alibaba can turn spoken text into sign language.

‘X Lab’ is also experimenting with making history come alive through virtual initiatives. Recently, Alibaba’s cloud gaming platform Yuanjing made it possible for visitors at their Alibaba Cloud’s Apsara conference to virtually visit the Xi’an Museum and check out its artifacts via mobile phone or laptop, or to have an immersive experience of the Tang dynasty’s imperial palace complex, powered by automatic 3D space creation and visual localization technology.


What’s Live?



◼︎ In November 2016, Alibaba launched the Mobile BUY+ feature in Taobao mobile apps in light of its annual Single’s Day Global Shopping Festival. With VR headsets and the app, China-based Taobao shoppers could experience shopping in-store at Target, Macy’s, or Costco in the US and other malls located in countries such as Japan and Australia.

◼︎ As Alibaba constantly keeps innovating its e-commerce landscape, its research institute DAMO Academy, in collaboration with its licensing platform Alifish, rolled out an XR-powered marketplace on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao for its November 2022 Single’s Day festival that allows consumers to visit virtual shopping streets and shop for merchandise as their own customizable avatars.


◼︎ In 2021, Alibaba led a $20 million Series A financing round of DGene, a virtual reality and immersive entertainment developer. Among others, DGene creates digital influencers or can even recreate historical figures based on its AI-driven technologies.

Dong Dong was launched as the first virtual brand ambassador for the Winter Olympics in 2022.

◼︎ For the Olympic Winter Olympics in 2022, Alibaba launched Dong Dong, a digital persona developed by Damo Academy using cloud-based digital technologies. Dong Dong was able to engage with fans and online viewers through livestreams, respond to questions in real time, and she even hosted online talkshows.




As a multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate with the highest-grossing revenue in the world, Tencent has the financial resources to gain an upper hand in technological innovation through acquisition and investment. In 2021 alone, Tencent made a total of 76 investments in Gaming, accounting for 25.2% of Tencent’s total investment throughout the year – a 9.3% increase compared to 2020. Tencent is now the biggest gaming company in the world.

Tencent also ramped up the company’s total headcount working in R&D department by 41%, accounting for 68% of its total workforce in 2021.

Although XR is used to create immersive experiences in different industries including healthcare, manufacturing, or education, its primary fields are still gaming and social – which just so happen to be Tencent’s main focus areas. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that Tencent, as the country’s Gaming & Social giant, has made XR part of its core business.


What’s Happening?



◼︎ In 2012, Tencent made an investment in Epic Games, the owner of Unreal Engine which powers well-known video games such as Fortnite, purchasing approximately 40% of the total Epic capital, making it the second largest shareholder. Epic Games’ major businesses span across RT3D game engine (Unreal), in-house developed games (Fortnite), and platform games. This investment is one of the reasons why Tencent conquered a leading position in the metaverse realm when it comes to games.

◼︎ As early as 2014, Tencent already tapped into the VR market by investing in social VR platform AltspaceVR, which was later acquired by Microsoft in 2017.

◼︎ In May 2019, Tencent and Roblox announced a joint venture in which Tencent holds a 49% controlling stake.

◼︎ In September of 2021, Tencent became the new investor behind Beijing-based VR game developer Vanimals (威魔纪元), known for its flagship games Undying and Eternity Warriors VR.

◼︎ In November 2021, Tencent joined the $82M Series D fundraising of Ultraleap, the world leader in mid-air haptics and 3D hand tracking. Ultraleap’s hand-tracking platform has been built into multiple platforms including Qualcomm’s XR and VR devices.

◼︎ In March 2022, Tencent invested in the Chinese AR glasses manufacturer SUPERHEXA (蜂巢科技) holding 7.3% of its shares.

Research & Development

◼︎ In 2015, Tencent announced its avant-garde VR Project ‘Tencent VR,’ a plan consisting of building its own VR games and releasing Tencent Virtual reality software development kits (VR SDKs) to support other VR game developers.

◼︎ As of September 2021, Tencent applied for registration of nearly 100 trademarks related to the metaverse, including “Tencent Music Metaverse” (腾讯音乐元宇宙).

◼︎ In June 2022, Tencent officially set up its XR department led by its Interactive Entertainment Division (IEG) game developer NExT Studios. During Tencent’s annual gaming conference SPARK 2022, the Head of IEG, Ma Xiaoyi (马晓轶), shared Tencent’s ambitions in charting all segments of the VR industry in the next 5 years, from developer software tools and SDKs to VR hardware, to consumer-facing content.

◼︎ NExT Studios, which is the youngest studio within the Tencent Games family, has partnered with the Shenzhen-based FACEGOOD, a 3D content generation technology company that is focused on building metaverse infrastructure.


What’s Live?



◼︎ At ChinaJoy 2019, the largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition across Asia, Tencent launched its cloud gaming solution on its WeGame client, allowing users to play several games instantly without a download. In December of that year, Tencent Games and global leader AI hardware & software leader Nvidia announced a new partnership to launch the START (云游戏) cloud gaming service for PC and console titles.

◼︎ Following the Sino-American joint venture with Roblox in May 2021, Tencent officially launched the Chinese version of Roblox (罗布乐思) topping the App Store free game list in July of 2021.

Social Networking

◼︎ In November 2021, Tencent led a $25 million Series A funding in the British developer Lockwood Publishing best known for the metaverse app Avakin Life, which allows users to create 3D characters and socialize in the virtual community.

◼︎ During the Lunar New Year in February 2022, Tencent’s instant messaging software QQ launched a new feature called “Super QQ Show” (超级QQ秀), which is an upgrade of its ‘QQ Show’ service that’s been running since 2003. Super QQ Show allows users to create their own 3D avatars and use them in an interactive context. It added AI face recognition and rendering. The platform is an interesting one for brands. Fast-food chain KFC even has its own restaurant in this virtual world.

Visiting KFC in the Super QQ Show.

◼︎ In the summer of 2022, the Tencent-backed app developer company Soulgate Inc., which operates the social networking app Soul, applied to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Tencent is the largest shareholder holding 49.9% of the shares. Soul is a virtual social playground with the mission of “building a ‘Soul’cial Metaverse for young generations” where users can connect with other users through the virtual identity they develop in the app. The majority of its users, nearly 75%, belong to Gen-Z.


◼︎ On New Year’s Eve of 2021, Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) Group launched China’s first virtual social music platform TMELAND, where users can create their own avatars and interact with each other through their “digital identity.” It’s worth mentioning that TMELAND was powered by the ‘Hybrid Edge-Cloud Platform Solution’ developed by XVERSE (元象科技), which was founded by a former Tencent executive committed to building a one-stop shop for 3D content development.

Coca Cola zone in TMLAND.

Recently, Coca-Cola partnered up with TMELAND to open a new metaverse zone, accessible via the TMELAND mini-programme on WeChat.




Known as “the world’s most valuable startup,” the Bytedance success story started with the algorithm-powered Toutiao (头条 ‘Headlines’) in 2012, a news and content platform that personalizes content for each user based on their own preferences. The Bytedance app TikTok (Douyin in China) conquered the world as one of most successful Chinese apps internationally.

Bytedance is a social networking leader, but is also focused on its in-house development in VR/AR. By 2021, Bytedance had completed at least 76 investment events, more than the previous two years combined.

From ByteDance’s activities in the XR industry, the company seems to have its strategy primarily focused on hardware, content development, and distribution across gaming, social networking, and entertainment industries.


What’s Happening?



◼︎ As early as 2018, Toutiao (Bytedance’s core product) acquired VSCENE (维境视讯) a Beijing-based solution provider for VR Live streaming.

◼︎ In July 2020, Bytedance participated in Series A funding of Seizet (熵智科技), an industrial automation company that provides a 3D industrial camera and software.

◼︎ In February 2021, Bytedance invested in Moore Threads (摩尔线程), a company that specialized in visual computing and artificial intelligence fields. In November last year, Moore Threads announced it has developed China’s first domestic full-fledged graphic processing unit (GPU) chip. Along with 5G communications, Wi-Fi 6, cloud computing, and chip technology, GPU is considered one of the main infrastructure technologies of the metaverse.

◼︎ In August 2021, ByteDance acquired Chinese VR hardware maker & software platform Pico for approximately $771 million to support its long-term investment in the VR ecosystem. By the end of Q1 2022, Pico is estimated to hold a 4.5% share of the global VR market, following Meta which is the dominant global player (90%). This year, Bytedance has set a higher sales target for Pico headsets to reach 1.6 million device output. To meet its VR industry goals, Bytedance is investing more into promotion and hiring more staff for Pico to catch up with or even surpass Meta’s Quest.

◼︎ In June 2022, ByteDance acquired PoliQ (波粒子), a team specialized in making virtual social platforms that allow users to interact with one another using their self-invented avatars in the virtual world. Jiesi Ma, the founder of PoliQ, is appointed to lead the VR Social department at ByteDance.

Research & Development

◼︎ To boost its entire VR ecosystem, Pico is engaging in more partnerships with Hollywood’s major film studios and leading streaming media companies in China (iQiyi, Youku, Tencent Video, Bilibili, and so on). In July 2022, Pico hosted Pico WangFeng@VR Music + Drifting Fantasy concert which leveraged 3D 8K VR Live Streaming technology to create a “magical” and immersive visual musical experience. By wearing Pico’s VR headsets, the audience can enjoy Wang’s performance from 5 different angles and as close as a meter away.


What’s Live?



◼︎ On February 22, 2021, Bytedance released its game development and publishing brand Nuverse (朝夕光年). To date, Nuverse has launched several successful games through APAC and the western markets including “Burning Streetball” (热血街篮), “Houchi Shoujo” (放置少女), “Ragnarok X: Next Generation” (RO仙境传说:新世代的诞生), “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang”, and “Warhammer 40,000: Lost Crusade.”

◼︎ In April 2021, Bytedance put another US$15 million into Chinese Roblox competitor Reworld (代码乾坤), a platform for creating game worlds and playing games using the company’s own simulation engine.

Social Networking

◼︎ In September 2021, Bytedance launched its avatar app Pixsoul in Southeast Asian markets and Brazil. Users can create personalized avatars and use them to socialize.

◼︎ In January 2022, Bytedance launched a beta version of its virtual social app “Party Island” (派对岛) where users can make friends with people sharing similar interests and hang out with avatars in various virtual settings such as parks and movie theaters. However, the app was reportedly removed from app stores again and its date of relaunching is unknown.


◼︎ In September 2021, TikTok introduced its creator-led NFT collection titled “TikTok Top Moments” where TikTok will feature a selection of culturally-significant TikTok videos from some of the most beloved creators on the platform. Powered by Immutable X, users can ‘own’ a moment on TikTok that broke the internet and trade the TikTok Top Moments NFTs.

Li Weike, image via Pandaily.

◼︎ In January 2022, ByteDance bought a 20% stake in Hangzhou Li Weike Technology Co., Ltd. (Li Weike, 李未可). The company aspires to build China’s first AI+AR-powered glasses that connect users with the virtual idol Li Weike, a digital character built by the company to help users with various tasks and essentially provide users with social and emotional support.


By Jialing Xie and Manya Koetse


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