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

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

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

However Douyin is crucial to ByteDance’s funds. Its continued success might be a major consider how the mum or dad 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 results?

Right here is an summary of Douyin.

Douyin is the most well-liked short-video app in China, and it is likely 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 subsequent providing. There are different similarities to TikTok. The Douyin algorithm learns your pursuits from the way you work together with the movies you might be proven and feeds you an infinite stream of content material.

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

TikTok has extra customers on its platform, however Douyin is ByteDance’s money cow. Roughly 80 p.c of ByteDance’s $54 billion income within the first half of final yr got here from China, derived primarily from Douyin, in accordance with The Information, a expertise information web site. The remaining 20 p.c got here from abroad markets primarily by means of TikTok.

Douyin is a thriving enterprise in China. The largest 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.

But it surely may need much more potential. In China, nearly all social media apps have purchasing 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 charge for Douyin.

One common type of commerce are stay video streams by influencers who peddle objects to audiences — think about Residence Procuring Community meets a day by day video weblog. The transaction worth of purchasing performed by means of livestreams on Douyin exceeded $200 billion in 2022, according to Statista, an information 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, and Pinduoduo, and it’s rising a lot sooner than these extra established firms, in accordance with eMarketer. Douyin’s on-line commerce gross sales grew an estimated 60 p.c in 2023, eMarketer mentioned.

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

TikTok is on the market 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 not achieve entry to Douyin accounts in China — and vice versa.

TikTok’s viewers tends to be younger, however Douyin has a a lot older consumer base in China. The truth is, it’s the most generally used and most popular app amongst Chinese language folks over 50 years previous, in accordance with a report launched by QuestMobile, a analysis agency. Douyin introduced measures to stop habit for seniors, together with voice reminders or compelled interruptions to individuals who have been anticipating too lengthy.

Douyin has grow to be an important platform for the Chinese language authorities to disseminate data and propaganda. In 2018, Douyin teamed up with 11 authorities departments and media organizations to assist enhance content material manufacturing to make their movies simpler at carrying their messages.

A senior official in The PLA Day by day, the newspaper of China’s navy, as soon as wrote in an essay that there was an pressing want for navy media to affix Douyin as a result of the platform had grow 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 Occasion. It rigorously removes video pertaining to subjects deemed delicate or inflammatory by the occasion, though it has proved a little bit tougher than text-based social media to manage.

Among the many issues which have been restricted or eliminated to this point this yr are accounts of economists who spoke negatively about China’s economy, 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 manner.

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