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There is no TikTok in China, but there is Douyin. This is what it is.| GuyWhoKnowsThings

There is no TikTok in China. There is only Douyin.

After president biden After signing a bill on Wednesday that forces the Chinese company ByteDance to sell its ownership of TikTok, the United States moved one step closer to an Internet without the short video application. The legislation opened the door to a possible ban on the social media platform if TikTok fails to find a buyer approved by the US government within a year.

Douyin is also owned by ByteDance. It is a staple of the Chinese Internet. Tik Tok It's in the rest of the world. But because it has no presence outside of China, Douyin, which means “shaking sound” in Chinese, is not as well-known globally.

But Douyin is critical to ByteDance's finances. Its continued success will be a major factor in how the parent company evaluates what it plans to do with TikTok. Will ByteDance succumb to Washington's political demands or refuse to sell TikTok and face the consequences?

Here is an overview of Douyin.

Douyin is the most popular short video app in China and one of the most visited social media platforms in the country. Like TikTok, videos on Douyin appear in a vertical format and users swipe up to move on to the next offer. There are other similarities with TikTok. The Douyin algorithm learns your interests from how you interact with the videos displayed and provides you with an endless stream of content.

Douyin debuted in September 2016 in China, a year before ByteDance introduced TikTok for overseas markets. Initially, Douyin focused on China's big cities, where young smartphone users were early adopters of new social media. Douyin reached more than 700 million monthly active users in May, meaning it was being used by the majority of China's internet users, according to QuestMobile, a Chinese data company.

TikTok has more users on its platform, but Douyin is ByteDance's source of income. About 80 percent of ByteDance's $54 billion in revenue in the first half of last year came from China, derived primarily from Douyin, according to Information, a technology news site. The remaining 20 percent came from overseas markets primarily through TikTok.

Douyin is a thriving business in China. Most of its earnings come from distributing online advertising along with its library of video content. Research firm eMarketer estimated that Douyin earned $21 billion in ad revenue in 2023, or about two-thirds of Alphabet's ad revenue from YouTube.

But it could have even more potential. In China, almost all social media apps have shopping components, and Douyin is no exception. Douyin has opened its own online shopping mall within the app, where sellers sell clothing, electronics, groceries, brand-name products, and discounted products. Each transaction generates a commission or service fee for Douyin.

A popular form of commerce is live video streams by influencers who sell items to the public; Imagine Home Shopping Network meets a daily video blog. The value of shopping transactions made through live streaming on Douyin will exceed $200 billion in 2022. according Statista, a data and business intelligence company in Germany.

E-commerce in China is also growing rapidly. Douyin is already the country's fourth-largest online retailer, behind Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo, and is growing much faster than more established companies, according to eMarketer. Douyin's online commerce sales grew about 60 percent in 2023, eMarketer said.

To try to cash in on its traffic, Douyin last month announced an app called Douyin Mall for Android users in mainland China. The app is not in the Apple App Store.

TikTok is available in more than 150 countries and regions in 75 languages, while Douyin can only be used in China. The two apps have many similar features, but are still separate services. TikTok users can search for accounts around the world, but they cannot access Douyin accounts in China, and vice versa.

TikTok's audience tends to be young, but Douyin has a much older user base in China. In fact, it is the most used and preferred application among Chinese people over 50, according to a report published by QuestMobile, a research company. Douyin inserted measures to prevent addiction to the elderly, including voice reminders or forced interruptions to people who have been watching for too long.

Douyin has become a crucial platform for Chinese authorities to spread information and propaganda. In 2018Douyin has partnered with 11 government departments and media organizations to help improve content production and make its videos more effective in conveying its messages.

A senior official at PLA Daily, the Chinese army newspaper, once wrote in an essay that there was an urgent need for military media to join Douyin because the platform had become “a new space and a new position for ideological competition between us and the enemies.”

Like other social media services in China, Douyin follows the Chinese Communist Party's censorship rules. It thoroughly removes videos related to topics the party considers sensitive or inflammatory, although it has proven to be a little more difficult to control than text-based social media.

Among the things that have been restricted or eliminated so far this year are economists who spoke negatively about China's economy, as well as short dramas about conflicts between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. The latter seemed to portray interfamily relationships in a dramatically negative way.

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