ByteDance Chasing WeChat in the Super-App Race With Douyin

ByteDance, the parent company of popular social media app TikTok, is on a mission to become China’s next “everything app” to rival the success of WeChat by Tencent

With most of its $80 billion annual revenue coming from social media ad revenue, ByteDance has been testing its Douyin app, which features streaming videos and messaging. The company is also expanding its offerings to include food and grocery delivery in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, in a bid to capture a larger share of the Chinese market and challenge WeChat’s dominance as the go-to app for everything from messaging to shopping.

For context, according to Business of Apps, WeChat “is the only app in China to have over 1 billion active users and is one of only five apps in the world which have surpassed that milestone. WeChat Pay, which was built using the framework of Tenpay, has over 900 million users and has supplanted AliPay as the most popular payment service in the country.”

The Douyin app already includes links to place delivery orders or redeem coupons for products shown in videos, making it easy for users to make purchases directly from the app. Additionally, users can search for movie theaters, bars and beauty salons within the app. This integration of delivery services into Douyin is a clear indication of ByteDance’s focus on becoming an all-in-one platform. 

As Bloomberg reported on Wednesday (June 14), “ByteDance has spent years laying the foundation for its own everything service. It has branched into video games and online shopping. It has also put increasing focus on real-world commerce through food orders, flight bookings and hotel reservations. Last year, Douyin’s 700 million users increased their spending on these on-demand services sevenfold, the company says, though it doesn’t disclose a specific number. GuoSheng Securities Co. estimates that by 2025, Douyin could facilitate 300 billion yuan ($42.1 billion) in on-demand transactions, generating more than 17 billion yuan in revenue from its commissions.”

ByteDance’s move into the delivery space is still in its early stages, but the company’s focus on becoming an all-in-one platform is clear. With its massive user base and track record in social media, Bloomberg said, “It could also eventually help ByteDance to bring the everything model to other markets through TikTok, assuming it eventually figures out the delicate politics of operating in U.S. and European markets.”