Huanhe, Tencent’s digital collectibles platform, has announced the termination of all sales and publishing on August 16. According to the announcement, users can choose to keep their digital collectibles or apply for refunds inside the app.
It has been reported that Huanhe, launched on August 2, 2021, was once China’s largest digital collectibles platform. The Tencent-owned platform accumulated over 80 million yuan in sales since its launch, and its sales nearly reached 20 million yuan in a single month in April 2022.
However, Huanhe’s popularity gradually decreased over time, partially due to the platform does not allow for secondary trading or gifting. In China, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are banned from trading on secondary markets, since regulators consider they are prone to financial fraud.
The report said that under the ban, digital collectibles came up with new ways for users to exchange their collection, such as re-gifting a digital collectible after 180 days of ownership. Huanhe was not one of the platforms which allow re-gifting and has publicly said such functions will not be added.
Likewise, the project was led by Wang Shimu, former head of Tencent News who joined Huanhe in May. Wang has allegedly left Tencent for an AI-related job posting at Baidu, according to a Caijing Weekly report. Baidu responded to the claim by saying there has yet to be a final decision on Wang joining the company, according to Sina Tech.
Prior to Huanhe’s official announcement, rumors of its demise loomed in July. On July 20, a report by Chinese media Jiemian citing several Tencent-related unidentified sources claimed Tencent would slash its Huanhe business unit as early as the coming week. Huanhe denied the claim then and said it was operating normally.
Huanhe users were suspicious of the platform’s future since the platform’s latest digital collectibles release was a traditional Chinese watercolor collection published on July 8, which has already been closed.
Thus, Tencent also attributed the shutting down of Huanhe to a business adjustment based on the company's core strategy of focus.