TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin adds shopping to ByteDance news app, prepares movie ticketing service in ecommerce push

Douyin’s 600 million daily active users will be able to link their accounts to Jinri Toutiao and shop within the popular news aggregation app. Douyin has been ramping up efforts to sell goods and services as it seeks to further monetise its massive user base. — SCMP

Short video app Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, is accelerating its e-commerce push and venturing into movie ticketing as owner ByteDance doubles down on efforts to turn its massive user base into a steady stream of revenue.

The Beijing-based company is looking to leverage the combined user base of its two biggest apps. Its flagship short video app, with 600 million daily active users in China, has launched a special shopping channel on Jinri Toutiao, ByteDance’s news aggregation app. It allows consumers to link their Douyin account and shop or watch product videos within the news app.

The channel is now one of dozens of tabs below Toutiao’s top search bar, where it sits among options for news, sports, novels and more. Users can customise the order of the tabs.

The move could help extend Douyin’s reach and bolster its efforts in e-commerce as the company searches for new sources of revenue. Toutiao has nearly 300 million monthly active users as of June, according to data from Analysys.

In addition to selling goods, Douyin may be preparing to launch a movie ticketing service. Late last month, Beijing Zitiao Network Technology Co, a subsidiary of Douyin Group (Hong Kong) Ltd, applied for an advertising and entertainment trademark for “Douyin Movie Ticket”.

The company has not mentioned a timeline for such a service, but it would be competing in an area dominated by Alibaba Group Holding’s Tao Piao Piao and Tencent Holdings-backed Maoyan. According to a January survey by market researcher iiMedia, 66% and 61% of China’s film-goers regularly use Tao Piao Piao and Maoyan, respectively.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures, the e-commerce giant’s movie production and distribution unit, dropped 1.5% to HK$0.34, while Maoyan dropped 2.7% to HK$4.98 by midday Wednesday. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Douyin has been ramping up its offerings for goods and services in a number of different areas, including restaurant and grocery deliveries. Last month, it concluded its 921 Goodies Festival, an e-commerce campaign initiated to rival Alibaba’s Singles’ Day held in November and JD.com’s 618 festival in June. Douyin said that during the 13-day festival, 84 brands achieved a gross merchandise volume of more than 10mil yuan (RM6.53mil).

Also in September, the platform partnered with several Chinese courier services – including JD Logistics, SF Express and ZTO Express – as it seeks to become a powerful player in the country’s ecommerce industry.

In August, ByteDance teamed up with Alibaba’s food delivery platform Ele.me to allow Douyin users to order a meal without leaving the app while watching live streams from nearby restaurants. – South China Morning Post

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