The Dominance of Douyin: Explaining How the Video-streaming Platform is Electrifying the Chinese Social Media and e-Commerce Scene

Posted 2019-05-17

By Boulanger, Mathieu*

In just it’s first year, Douyin, the short form video-streaming platform launched by ByteDance is taking China by storm, reaching an astounding 500 million monthly users and 1 billion views per day. For an app that was reportedly developed in only 200 days by a team of 8 people, this is quite the impressive feat, and as the developers look to expand its e-Commerce capabilities by strategically partnering with Alibaba, only the sky appears to be the limit.


What makes Douyin popular is in part thanks to its convenient and user-friendly editing interface. It allows users to easily add a variety of effects and music into their videos, providing audiences with creative and at time humorous content.

The apps major success however, is in how it maintains it’s high retention rate or “user stickiness”. With over 80% of users aged under 29 according to Jiguang data, ByteDance have accurately catered to the needs of the Chinese Gen Z market, by successfully making their young and upscale audiences feel like movie stars. By attracting prominent and attractive influencer’s, many of which who flaunt expensive an d exotic branded clothing, young audiences are inspired to recreate their celebrity role models video’s.

Whilst this app isn’t necessarily revolutionizing the video-sharing industry, it’s providing users a well-executed platform to effectively interact in a fun and unique way. Considering it’s the world’s fastest-growing short video app since it entered the overseas market last August, it’s no wonder businesses are using the platform for digital marketing. With Douyin (known as TikTok in foreign markets) being launched in over 150 countries, brand’s can penetrate international audiences at a cost-effective price.

ByteDance will be hoping this exponential growth continues into next year, and with their recently announced Alibaba partnership, that reality is most definitely plausible. With the implementation of the new e-Commerce feature, where content creators can link products through a shopping cart icon, Douyin can provide brands with innovative conversion-based KOL marketing approaches. Lu Zhenwang from Wanqing Consultancy stated that a Douyin integration “can be a strong weapon for e-commerce, especially for Alibaba who wants to reach to younger consumers and those living in smaller cities”. With various other international companies such as Pizzahut, Airbnb and Chevrolet already creating collaborative marketing campaigns with Douyin, the return on investment looks to still be high for those brands wanting to tap into the young affluent Chinese market.

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