Douyin (known in western countries as TikTok) is the most popular short video app in China, with 400 million active users every day. Douyin users represent 67.9% of mobile social network users in China and 59% of smartphone users in general and has grown exponentially in recent years.

Together with Kuaishou, Tencent’s short video platform with 200 million active users, it represents 54.2% of the Chinese market for short video apps, according to the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute.

The app was launched in China by ByteDance in September 2016 and in the international markets in 2017. It is used for creating and sharing 15-second videos. The contents usually include challenges and funny videos. 

TikTok immediately became popular worldwide, according to Apptrace, TikTok is currently available in 141 countries and is in the top 25 of 135 of these countries. TikTok has been installed on devices over 1.9 billion times worldwide and 44% of TikTok downloads occurred in 2019


As we have anticipated, the app in China has a different name and is in fact a different app, which is called Douyin.

The two apps are practically identical, although Douyin has slightly more sophisticated e-commerce features, such as the function that allows users to search and buy products on the app.

The average age of Douyin users is between 25 and 35 years old and 23% of them come from 1-tier cities.


One of its strong points is the high user engagement rate: according to research conducted by the Influencer Marketing Hub, Douyin has the highest follower engagement rates compared to other social media.



Why is it Douyin so popular in China 

Douyin literally translates to “vibrant music” and its content fits perfectly with that name being more dynamic and funny than other social media available on the market. 

One of the reasons for its success is related to the wide range of features available on the app that triggered the creativity of its users.


Another reason lies in the adaptability of short videos to the fast and dynamic lifestyle typical of Chinese cities. Short videos are easier to use and adapt better to the frenetic pace of users.

Is it a good platform for promotion?


Obviously, such a popular and dynamic space is an ideal environment to interact with consumers and create an effective advertising platform. Already in 2018, over 2 billion euros have been spent on advertising on the micro-video app and the figure is expected to rise to 6.5 billion by 2023.


Can Douyin be used to sell products?


Between 2018 and 2019 Douyin allowed to connect their accounts to e-commerce stores and gave the possibility to broadcast live-streaming video, with the aim of completing the user conversion cycle.

We have already seen how live streaming and e-commerce are connected, on the Chinese TikTok this synergy is enhanced by the high rate of user involvement.


In the first quarter of 2019, the in-app spending through TikTok grew by 222% worldwide. Taobao is the most used e-sop by KOL to make sales on Douyin, but other e-commerce platforms can be connected including JD.com, Tmall and WeChat mini-program.

The connection to the e-commerce is visible on the shared video: an image appears and invites users to click and go from Douyin to the shop where they can buy the products.

The most popular e-commerce categories on the Chinese TikTok are women’s clothing, men’s clothing, cosmetics and F&B products.


So, is Douyin a platform to invest in?


The investment required to work on the Chinese TikTok is much lower than that required for more established platforms such as WeChat.

At the same time, Douyin is currently particularly effective in selling rather cheap products (average cost of 20 euros) and the target audience is quite young. These factors make us understand that it is not an app yet ready but certainly a good long-term investment.


On the other hand, WeChat has also started its e-commerce journey by selling low-priced products and today it is one of the best social media to promote Luxury products. The brands that have believed in WeChat in the past have been widely repaid for their trust.

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