After China’s Clubhouse Ban, Copycats Race to Fill the Void

For would-be Clubhouse fans in China, the party may not be over yet

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6:27 PM HKT, Sat March 6, 2021 1 mins read

Clubhouse, the invite-only social networking audio app, was blocked in mainland China after a brief success earlier this year — but the reverberations of that success were felt across China’s larger app ecosystem.

In the wake of Clubhouse’s disappearance, several tech companies are rushing to fill the void; here are a few emerging Clubhouse copycats to know.



1. Inke’s Duihuaba

Inke, a live video broadcasting app, took the lead to launch one of the very first Clubhouse clones — Duihuaba (aka Talk Bar) — on the eve of Lunar New Year.

“The entire product, from research and development, to design and testing, took the team only six days,” Yousheng Feng, the chairman of Inke said in an interview.

Duihuaba’s stated aim is to provide each user with equal opportunities for dialogue and high-quality connection. It is, of course, very similar in layout to Clubhouse.

Screenshot Courtesy of Duihuaba’s official Weibo page

According to project leader Yuhang Jiang, the app has more than 4,000 registered users and 1,000 active users as of February 20, with an average daily use time around three hours.

12 days after launching, Duihuaba was removed from app stores, citing a “need for improvements” that may indicate uncertainty from official censors.

2. JingData’s Capital Coffee

Financial data platform Jingdata released its own Clubhouse-like app called Capital Coffee, specifically targeting the investment crowd.

Capital Coffee aims to “create a space for people in the vortex of capital, to hold discussions or find a new happy place.”

The app is currently operated in a testing mode and not yet available on app stores.

“We won’t make any strict distinctions based on existing interests,” said Chai Yuan, CEO of the company behind Capital Coffee. “What we want to create is a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.”

3. Xiaomi’s MiTalk

Screenshot: Xiaomi’s MiTalk Logo

Even consumer electronics powerhouse Xiaomi has tossed its hat into the ring.

Back in 2010, Xiaomi released an instant messaging app called MiTalk, even before the birth of WeChat. The tech company shuttered the app’s operations on February 19, 2021, due to a lack of interest.

Just one week later though, Xiaomi resurrected the dead app as a Clubhouse clone. The new MiTalk is a “voice chat app for professionals.”

It remains to be seen if this makeover will be enough to save the floundering MiTalk app.

4. Dizhua

Screeshot: Dizhua’s app logo

Voice-based networking app Dizhua, unlike the others in this list, predates Clubhouse by nearly a year.

Zhu Xiaohua, the app’s product manager, explained that their team has been envisioning a multi-user chatroom experience since the very beginning.

“In real life, the most common chatting scenario is a multi-person social event, so the ‘living room’ is one of the core ideas, said Zhu. “What users chat about in private after that is their own business.”

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