Chinese social media giant Tencent, known for its popular messaging app WeChat, is launching its own pair of video-recording sunglasses, called “Weishi smart glasses”, that bear striking resemblance to US-based social media firm Snap’s “face-camera” Spectacles gadget.
Produced by Shenzhen-based firm Tonot, Tencent’s Weishi glasses are equipped with a camera in the front corner which enables users to film from a first-person perspective.
The smart glasses are expected to encourage users to record more short videos to upload to Weishi, Tencent’s short-video app-based platform, which is seeking to catch with market leaders TikTok – a unit of ByteDance — and Kuaishou.
Kuaishou, which is backed by Tencent, launched its own video-taking sunglasses in July.
Tencent’s smart glasses will be released for sale on November 11, which is Alibaba’s Singles Day, a large shopping event in China. The price is yet to be announced.
A new mobile app, which allows users to pair the glasses via Bluetooth, and enables remote shooting and live broadcasts via the app, is now available on Apple’s App Store.
Snap launched the first generation of Spectacles back in November 2016. However, the gadget has failed to convert hype into sales, with the company having lost nearly US$40 million on the device mainly due to excess inventory reserves, according to an earnings report last year.
In November last year, Snap disclosed that Tencent had raised its stake in the company. The additional investment came even as the Snapchat messaging platform operator had disappointed Wall Street with its quarterly results.
Tencent president Martin Lau told Snap the Chinese firm is “excited” to deepen its relationship with the US entity, and that it looks forward to sharing ideas and experiences, according to a Snap regulatory filing.
Currently, Tencent remains Snap’s largest investor, with about 12 percent share in the company.
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