ByteDance: TikTok and Douyin in Online Streaming Wars

ByteDance: TikTok and Douyin in Online Streaming Wars

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

ByteDance, an emerging Internet venture headquartered in Beijing, China, faces fierce competition in online streaming wars in both China and global markets. In September 2016, ByteDance introduced Douyin, a short video mobile app, to the Chinese market based on the success of artificial intelligence (AI) technology-based news recommendation app Toutiao. It achieved massive success, surpassing 100 million users within one year. With success in the Chinese market, ByteDance launched TikTok—the global version of Douyin—in September 2017. Douyin and TikTok shared the same starting point, but have developed into two different apps. Because of the difference in user preference and language barriers, the two apps have entirely different content. While both apps provided the same core features, such as the Hashtag Challenges (HC), Douyin tended to adopt a broader range of functions, including live streaming and online commerce service.

In the Chinese market, ByteDance (or Douyin) has competed with the three Internet giants, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—the so-called BAT companies—and other short video apps. In the global market, ByteDance (or TikTok) has closely competed against global platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Netflix. Students will be asked to analyze the competitive environment, various revenue models, and how to develop and operate these models in China and in the global market.

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