Can WeChat Channel Compete with Douyin?

In recent years, social media platforms have become an essential part of people’s lives, and entertainment has become a major trend. Among these platforms, WeChat and Douyin stand out as two of the most popular competitors in China. While WeChat has been a traditional leader in social media, Douyin, known as TikTok outside of China, has quickly gained attention in the entertainment sector. In this article, we will explore whether WeChat can compete with Douyin as the preferred platform for entertainment.

WeChat, an all-in-one app launched in 2011, has over 1.2 billion users worldwide. It offers features ranging from messaging to payment and even transportation services. WeChat has been the go-to platform for communication and information-sharing in China. As a result of this vast user base, companies use WeChat as an effective way to reach potential customers through WeChat public accounts. WeChat allows content creators to publish articles, videos, and live streams, providing a diverse range of content for users. WeChat has long been widely considered a social app rather than an entertainment app, as it’s not primarily focused on its video content.

On the other hand, Douyin has become a popular platform for short-video content, particularly for music and dance. Launched in 2016, Douyin has over 600 million daily active users, and as of 2021, it was the second-most downloaded app globally. The app provides users with an immersive and engaging experience through its perfectly curated and algorithm-based personalized feed. Douyin is exceedingly popular and winning out over traditional social media platforms for entertainment purposes.

Given the facts mentioned above, one could argue that Douyin may replace WeChat regarding the entertainment purpose. However, there are valid reasons to believe that WeChat still has the upper hand. Here are some reasons why:

1. WeChat is already an established platform for businesses and digital marketing. With a few steps, companies can set up WeChat public accounts, direct customers to their e-commerce sites, and even establish loyalty rewards programs. Many companies have adopted WeChat to engage with customers in marketing and customer service. Douyin has yet to establish as comprehensive a marketing ecosystem as WeChat.

2. WeChat has an extensive social network rooted in communication with friends, colleagues, and family. People use WeChat as the primary communication platform for their private message groups, while Douyin is more oriented towards creators, influencers, and entertainment-focused users.

3. The integration of WeChat Pay into the app makes it easier to facilitate transactions. Douyin lacks a payment system as advanced as WeChat, which has made WeChat the de facto payment method in China.

4. While it’s true that Douyin’s video-sharing feature is unmatched, WeChat has been continuously improving its video content by releasing Chinese-language mini-programs like vChat, a messaging-based video streaming service.

5. WeChat is still playing an important role in China’s social and political environment. With features like a mini-program that allows users to pay for the delivery of medicine, WeChat has become an essential tool during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In conclusion, while Douyin appears to have the upper hand in terms of entertainment, WeChat has proven its profound influence as a social media platform in China. Douyin’s main purpose is short-form video content featuring creators and influencers, while WeChat has a vast range of features beyond entertaining media content, making it more functional as a platform. The reality is that WeChat and Douyin can coexist in China’s tech industry and among users. Douyin may specialize in creating short-form video content, while WeChat continues to broaden its reach and functionality with innovations in digital marketing, e-commerce, and interactive content. Ultimately, which app will succeed may come down to how users in China use these popular social media apps in the future.