China has its own version of the Internet. Instead of Whatsapp, it has WeChat, instead of Facebook, it has RenRen, and now, instead of TikTok, it has Douyin (even though TikTok is China-based in itself!). And as is the case with all of these China-only social networks, Douyin is generating massive buzz in the market. The Chinese version of TikTok has amassed 400 million active daily users as of January 2020. Compare it to the 250 million last year this time, and it becomes imminent how much the app has grown.
As is expected, the ways in which TikTok is being used in America and China vary substantially. Fueling a racist stereotype, Chinese TikTok is more knowledge based while the U.S. version is entertainment centric. This was the remark made by Katherine Wu, an investor at New York-based firm Notation Capital.
“Things that trend in these two countries are insanely different. For example: knowledge-based content is extremely popular in China, and less so in the U.S. Also, this was wild to me: those creators that did the most dance videos in China are users born in the 60s (!!), whereas in the US, it seems that it’s mostly teenagers who are creating the dances,” she wrote.
According to its parent company ByteDance,14.89 million “knowledge-based content videos” were shared on the app last year. Education is a very important sector for the company, as it claims educational content to be one of its most consumed category worldwide. The company also launched an educational campaign in India last year, as it completes 200 million users in the country.
TikTok reported a revenue of $50 million last year but is facing tough competition from the Tencent backed video app Kuaishou.
Douyin makes up for 67.9% of China’s mobile social network users and 59% of smartphones and the numbers are expected to only grow in the coming year. The penetration in the market by both Douyin and TikTok has made the American government worried, which is at a cold technological war with China. The government suspects that TikTok might be sending civilian data to the Chinese government.
U.S. Navy went as far as restricting its members from downloading TikTok, in an attempt to secure military data from falling into the wrong hands.