Douyin’s product director Wang Xiaowei revealed that Douyin has initiated its overseas expansion recently after its success in China this year. It’s said that TouTiao has poured in over one hundred million U.S. dollars to support Douyin’s internationalization.
Positioned as a music short video community, Douyin was incubated by TouTiao, a news aggregation platform in China. The product came online in September 2016 and targets young users who look for trending and fun video contents.
Starting from March this year, Douyin has been growing at a rocket speed as there is no clear rival in the Chinese market. Third-party statistic organization QuestMobile mentioned in its June report that Douyin had made it into the top ten list of short video industry and it’s only second to Kuaishou in the short video sector.
Wang Xiaowei told TMTPost that Douyin’s video view has surpassed one billion, a number that is still growing fast. “There is no matching rival for Douyin in China, so it’s natural for Douyin to seek growth overseas,” Wang said.
According to open data, Douyin’s overseas expansion is the fourth major move of TouTiao’s internationalization plan during the past ten months.
“TouTiao not only aims to become an enterprise representing China, but also an enterprise that faces the world. We want to spread contents to not only Chinese people, but many more people. We want to accumulate more influence in a grander region,” TouTiao’s senior VP Liu Zhen said.
Previously TouTiao acquired Flipagram. The incentive behind it is not as simple as “to represent China and face the world.” Flipagram’s main competition in North America is musical.ly, a short video app developed by a bunch of Chinese developers and came online in 2014. Both platforms target the music short video community.
An experienced investor analyzed that one of the main reasons for TouTiao to acquire Flipagram is to create obstacles for musical.ly. In other words, TouTiao wants to use Flipagram to create troubles for musical.ly at its home market so as to prevent musical.ly from entering the Chinese market. In March 2017, musical.ly launched an app version for China. At this point, Douyin became its rival, a local product in the Chinese market incubated by TouTiao. After five years of development, TouTiao has gathered a mass data traffic similar to Internet giants such as QQ, WeChat etc.
The investor also stated that Douyin’s march towards overseas market is a follow-up attack on musical.ly. From May 2016 to now, musical.ly still hasn’t achieved commercialization. Its data growth in the North American market is not looking good either. Its DAU (daily active user) is still less than one million. It appears that musical.ly has missed its best chance of competing with Douyin.
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