Soul is finally going to be listed on the Hong Kong stock market. I have mixed feelings about this news. In the past ten years, I have tried most of the vertical social applications on the Chinese Internet - from Momo and Tantan many years ago, to Wumi and Mifeng (these two are actually the same thing) that no longer exist, and then From Soul and its competitor Uki, to the moment when it is very popular in the Internet circle recently, I have used it for a while. Believe it or not, I tried them primarily for product reviews and secondarily to meet interesting like-minded people. On the Chinese Internet, the vast majority of vertical social platforms have failed; those that have not failed are mostly not big enough.
In a nutshell, they end in three things: Get bigger, then decline, find a second spring through transformation (maybe decline again). The most typical example is Momo, which transformed from a stranger social app to a live streaming platform, and b2b data then became marginalized again. It has not yet grown, and it has declined for various reasons until it is closed. There are countless examples of this, and 90% of social apps born between 2010 and 2020 are like this. Never made it big, but found a subdivision track to survive the tight confines. Such examples are very rare, and Douban is one (if you think Douban also has social attributes). To be honest, I hope Soul can break the above-mentioned vicious circle and create a vertical social platform that can grow bigger and last longer,
and find a sustainable business model. But I can't hold out much hope for that. Because in the Chinese Internet world, vertical social platforms face three very huge and almost insoluble obstacles, so after growing to a certain scale, if they do not transform, they will surely decline. I don't see how Soul can break these three barriers. First of all, vertical social platforms are particularly prone to being disrupted by a small number of low-quality users, which naturally presents a trend of "bad money drives out good money". The most fun time for such platforms is often in the climbing period shortly after their birth, and the community atmosphere has gotten worse since then. The most "contributed" to this are those naked dating players - female users are often crushed by the overwhelming "Date"