China Online Ecosystem 101: Douyin

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China Online Ecosystem 101: Douyin


What is it and Why is it So Popular?

Douyin, which literally means “vibrato” in Chinese- a clever name riffing on its blurry two-tone logo reminiscent of blue and red old school 3D glasses- is one of China’s hottest internet platforms and has achieved stunning popularity. The app, also known as Tiktok in other Asian markets, has seen a rapid rise since its beginnings in Autumn 2016

The Chinese micro-vlog music oriented social network features amusing and informative short clips, an immersive full-screen interface and powerful AI in combination to great effect. The kind of creature we are dealing with here is the powerful media more-ish-ness of the well-documented ‘Youtube hole’ bolstered by the pithy immediacy of Twitter’s Vines, which is underpinned with well curated staple music loops and a slick user interface.

The app’s video management software ad intuitive effects suite also make it a joy to use. The fun, on the fly effects processing make appealing visual effects easy which can used by creative effect by anyone with a rudimentary grasp of rhythm. This function gives videos an extra level of ambience or sparkle, making Douyin a pleasure to use as a video editor in its own right.

App User Demographics

Having already expanded to 154 million monthly active users, Douyin was the 6th most downloaded app in the world in the first quarter of 2018, in terms of iOS and Android app downloads combined. It was also the most popular non-gaming iOS download globally, seeing off competition from the big boys YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp on download charts.

Domestically, younger members find the entertaining, predominantly user generated content extremely engaging. Jiguang data analytics demonstrate that 43% of Douyin accounts are operated from 1st and 2nd-tier cities- the most economically developed ones.


Douyin’s user demographic is comparatively young: over 50% in the 24 years old bracket. The predominantly young and affluent audience makes Douyin an attractive proposition for brands eager to leverage China’s Gen Z spending power.

The majority female audience of Douyin is another of the app’s draw for marketers, eager to reach out to young and females with considerable disposable incomes.

With exponentially increasing amounts of free content for people to choose from the micro vlog format utilized on its platform, Douyin- thanks to its immediacy and casual engagement style- is likely to remain a powerful marketing tool in the entertainment industry.