With more than 600 million daily active users in China as of 2021, Douyin is one of the most lucrative and promising apps in the world. What was just supposed to be a sharing platform for short videos is now an entire empire of technology, combining artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and even e-commerce! Douyin is in fact reshaping how information is created, shared, and consumed online. Recently, Douyin even launched its Flagship Stores for brands. But, what does it mean concretely for consumers and brands? In this article, we are going to see the impact of Douyin in China, and give you more information about these Flagship stores.

Douyin: A Powerful Weapon for China

At first sight, Douyin is like any app in the world, just a social media where people can create and share content. However, Douyin is much more than a merely entertaining app. With a resounding success in China since its release in 2016, the company at the origin of Douyin quickly saw the potential of short videos, launching in 2017 a western version of Douyin: Tik Tok, which quickly became a phenomenal success.

The Digitalization of China

As one of the most digitalized countries in the world, more than 985 million people are connected to the internet in China. Contrary to what some people might think, Wechat is not the only and most lucrative app in China. As a matter of fact, several apps have millions of users, like Weibo, Xiaohongshu, QQ, Meitu, etc. China is indeed the hub of many companies specializing in new technologies and digital tools. As you probably already know, the Chinese population is already accustomed to using VR (Virtual Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in their daily life. So, we can say that Douyin’s explosive growth comes in the context of China’s continuing expansion of social network use.

According to this report published by Hootsuite, Chinese internet users spend on average 2h04 on social media every day.

What exactly is Douyin?

If you are a westerner, you may have heard of the well-known app Tik Tok, especially popular among Millenials and Gen-Z. However, did you know that Tik Tok had a twin app in China? Launched in 2016 and developed by the Chinese tech firm Beijing Bytedance, Douyin quickly became one of the fastest-growing short video apps in China. This sharing video platform allows users to watch and create short videos with music in the background, stickers, and animations thanks to easy-to-use video creation tools.

© Funtop

Douyin’s algorithms are based on artificial intelligence (AI) in order to recommend different videos according to the user’s interests. Its direct competitor is Kuaishou, another short video app extremely popular in Mainland China. However, the power of Douyin is the wide and diverse content it has.

Note: TikTok is not available in Mainland China, and Douyin is not available in Western countries.

What are the most popular subjects on Douyin?

Douyin has become an important app for Chinese consumers to record their daily life moments. The most popular subjects treated in Douyin’s videos are about entering a relationship and a wedding. They are indeed most of the time about human relationships, with people talking and showing their daily life.

Douyin over the years

According to some experts, Douyin was expected to reach 600 million daily active users by 2023, however, it managed to reach this number much faster than expected. Douyin has now more than 600 daily active users in China and this growth is not ready to stop, thanks to the craze of social media, digitalization, and the popularity of KOLs.

According to a report published by Hootsuite in January 2021, Douyin and Tik Tok are ranking first in terms of consumer spending. Thus, it is undeniable that Douyin is now a giant and a powerful tool for China’s economic development. Moreover, we can see that its competitor Kwai (快手) is still behind at the moment, but is nevertheless slowly catching up. This can also explain why Douyin is constantly trying to break new ground with its innovations and new services, like the flagship store.

Douyin during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly contributed to the growth of Douyin’s audience. In fact, the Chinese population reacted to quarantines and lockdowns the same as everywhere else — by spending unexpected additional time online. 

“Douyin Wonderful Night” in 2020 (© 抖音)

Following its success, Douyin has contributed to various projects and festivals in order to show to the world a success ‘Made in China. For example, during the 2020 “Douyin Wonderful Night” (抖音美好奇妙夜), Douyin invited famous Chinese celebrities like Angela Baby, but also many KOLs, that are part of Douyin’s success story. Moreover, even without a proper audience because of the Covid-19 restrictions, people were able to watch this show on live streaming, another strength of Douyin.

How has Douyin contributed to the development of businesses in China?

Since its launch in 2016, Douyin has greatly contributed to the development of the Chinese market in terms of innovations, new technologies, and means of communication. It has changed the way of advertising, with the rising popularity of sales agents on Douyin, but mostly to the emergence of KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Douyin was able to break ground in terms of marketing strategies and communication between brands and consumers.

Douyin: an intuitive and easy-to-access platform

The main reason for Douyin’s success is its easy-to-access platform. You will just need to register in order to have access to billions of short videos by scrolling down. This intuitive platform is especially popular among teenagers, who are able to watch dozen of short videos on their way to school for example. The format is also convenient as you don’t have to turn your screen to watch.

What are Douyin’s Flagship Stores?

In March 2021, Douyin launched its flagship stores, available for brand accounts on its platform, marking a major step into e-commerce. Until now, Douyin was just a way to promote new products and popular items to consumers through short videos and live-streaming. Moreover, it was also possible for companies to send vouchers to their followers and add links to e-commerce platforms such as JD.com and Taobao. However, the novelty of these flagship stores is all about marketing.

Lining -Douyin

Brands are now able to create their own flagship store directly on Douyin, which will allow them to increase their conversion rate. This feature also includes the possibility to create campaign banners, send vouchers and recommendations, but also offline store information. Consumers are then able to claim these vouchers, which can be used both online and offline. Since the launch of this new service, more than 220 brands (Huawei, Winona, Peacebird, and Perfect Diary) have already introduced their flagship stores, including international brands. The purpose of Douyin is to reach the 1 trillion yuan at the end of the year, in order to be amongst the top e-commerce players in the Chinese market.

What does it change?

Compared to the previous version of Douyin, the ratio of product views per page on the account’s homepage will increase from 17% to 80%. Bytedance also said that brands would be able to see their click-through rate of product exposure increase by approximately 250% month-on-month.

As for the consequences, this new service will enhance Douyin’s position to have an advantage over its competitors such as Kuaishou, which teamed up with JD Retail last year to enhance its live streaming, as well as to increase its revenues.

Douyin’s new weapon to tackle e-commerce giants

This new concept of flagship store will be a tremendous opportunity for Douyin to increase its online sales and attracting even more consumers. Douyin will probably become a major competitor for e-commerce platforms such as JD. com, Taobao, TMall, and Alibaba. However, the concept is still at its premises, so it is difficult to predict what impact these flagship stores will have on the e-commerce industry. Moreover, Douyin will have to convince other luxury brands to join this service, instead of just using Douyin to build their image.

Douyin: A Future Leader in the E-commerce Industry?

Over the years, Douyin was able to innovate in terms of marketing strategies, allowing brands to link an e-commerce platform to their products. Then a few months later, consumers were able to directly purchase the app without opening another app. Thanks to its experts in the e-commerce industry, Douyin will probably be one of the leaders in the e-commerce industry if consumers are willing to shift from traditional e-commerce platforms to Douyin’s in-app flagship store.

What impact will Douyin have on the Chinese market?

As short video platforms are already the second most popular method for Chinese users to search online, traditional search engines such as Baidu will have to adapt their strategy and be creative in order to provide quality content. In terms of advertising, traditional advertising are likely to be replaced by Douyin’s short videos promoted by KOLs.

How to open your flagship store on Douyin?

The first thing you will need to have if you want to do business and advertising for your company through Douyin is to create a verified business account. For more information, you can contact us and we will talk about your projects and needs. By using a business account, you will have access to an integrated marketing platform on which you will be able to post new content and engage your community.

© Bytedance

After creating your business account, you will just need to follow a few steps in order to create your flagship store. However, you have to take into account that having a flagship store does not mean that Chinese consumers will buy your products. You will always need to have a strong online presence on Chinese websites and search engines such as Baidu.

Our services

Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a digital marketing agency specializing in the Chinese market, with experts from the four corners of the world. Our goal is to help foreign companies to establish or increase their visibility in China. If you want more information, you can contact us to talk about your projects.

You will find below our fields of expertise.

  • Advertising
  • Baidu SEO&SEM
  • Social Media
  • PR
  • KOL & Influencers
  • E-commerce and cross-border e-commerce
  • Distribution

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