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There Is No TikTok in China, Solely Douyin. Right here’s What It Is.


In China, there isn’t a TikTok. There may be solely Douyin.

After President Biden signed a invoice on Wednesday forcing Chinese language firm ByteDance to promote its possession of TikTok, the USA moved one step nearer to an web with out the brief video app. The laws opened the door to a attainable ban of the social media platform if TikTok fails to discover a U.S. government-approved purchaser inside a 12 months.

Douyin can be owned by ByteDance. It’s a staple of the Chinese language web the way in which TikTok is in the remainder of the world. However as a result of it has no presence exterior China, Douyin, which suggests a “shaking sound” in Chinese language, is just not as well-known globally.

However Douyin is vital to ByteDance’s funds. Its continued success will likely be a big think about how the dad or mum firm assesses what it plans to do with TikTok. Will ByteDance succumb to political calls for from Washington, or will it refuse to promote TikTok and face the implications?

Right here is an outline of Douyin.

Douyin is the preferred short-video app in China, and it is without doubt one of the most visited social media platforms within the nation. As on TikTok, the movies on Douyin seem in a vertical format and customers swipe as much as get to the following providing. There are different similarities to TikTok. The Douyin algorithm learns your pursuits from the way you work together with the movies you’re proven and feeds you an limitless stream of content material.

Douyin debuted in September 2016 in China, a 12 months earlier than ByteDance launched TikTok for abroad markets. Initially, Douyin targeted on China’s massive cities the place younger smartphone customers have been early adopters of latest social media. Douyin reached greater than 700 million lively month-to-month customers in Might, that means it was being utilized by a majority of China’s web customers, in response to QuestMobile, a Chinese language knowledge agency.

TikTok has extra customers on its platform, however Douyin is ByteDance’s money cow. Roughly 80 % of ByteDance’s $54 billion income within the first half of final 12 months got here from China, derived primarily from Douyin, in response to The Data, a expertise information web site. The remaining 20 % got here from abroad markets primarily by TikTok.

Douyin is a thriving enterprise in China. The most important chunk of its revenue comes from distributing internet advertising alongside its library of video content material. The analysis agency eMarketer estimated that Douyin took in $21 billion in promoting income in 2023, or about two-thirds of Alphabet’s advert income from YouTube.

Nevertheless it may need much more potential. In China, virtually all social media apps have buying elements, and Douyin isn’t any exception. Douyin has opened its personal on-line shopping center contained in the app the place distributors promote garments, electronics, groceries, brand-name items and low cost merchandise. Each transaction generates a fee or service price for Douyin.

One standard type of commerce are stay video streams by influencers who peddle objects to audiences — think about Dwelling Procuring Community meets a each day video weblog. The transaction worth of buying carried out by livestreams on Douyin exceeded $200 billion in 2022, in response to Statista, a knowledge and enterprise intelligence firm in Germany.

E-commerce in China is rising quick, too. Douyin is already the nation’s fourth-largest on-line retailer behind Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo, and it’s rising a lot sooner than these extra established corporations, in response to eMarketer. Douyin’s on-line commerce gross sales grew an estimated 60 % in 2023, eMarketer mentioned.

To attempt to money in on its visitors, Douyin introduced an app known as Douyin Mall final month for Android customers in mainland China. The app is just not in Apple’s App Retailer.

TikTok is accessible in additional than 150 international locations and areas in 75 languages, whereas Douyin can be utilized solely in China. The 2 apps have many related options, however they continue to be separate providers. TikTok customers can seek for accounts everywhere in the world, however they can’t achieve entry to Douyin accounts in China — and vice versa.

TikTok’s viewers tends to be younger, however Douyin has a a lot older person base in China. In truth, it’s the most generally used and most popular app amongst Chinese language individuals over 50 years previous, in response to a report launched by QuestMobile, a analysis agency. Douyin launched measures to stop dependancy for seniors, together with voice reminders or pressured interruptions to individuals who have been looking forward to too lengthy.

Douyin has turn out to be a vital platform for the Chinese language authorities to disseminate info and propaganda. In 2018, Douyin teamed up with 11 authorities departments and media organizations to assist enhance content material manufacturing to make their movies more practical at carrying their messages.

A senior official in The PLA Day by day, the newspaper of China’s army, as soon as wrote in an essay that there was an pressing want for army media to affix Douyin as a result of the platform had turn out to be “a brand new house and a brand new place for ideological competitors between us and the enemies.”

Like different social media providers in China, Douyin follows the censorship guidelines of the Chinese language Communist Get together. It rigorously removes video pertaining to subjects deemed delicate or inflammatory by the get together, though it has proved a little bit tougher than text-based social media to regulate.

Among the many issues which were restricted or eliminated to this point this 12 months are accounts of economists who spoke negatively about China’s financial system, in addition to brief dramas in regards to the conflicts between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. The latter appeared to painting interfamily relations in a dramatically destructive approach.



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