Chinese version of Tiktok, Douyin, set to expand food delivery trial more broadly across China, capitalising on e-commerce success
Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has said it is planning to expand a food-delivery service across China after launching it last year in three cities.
The service is part of a quick-growing e-commerce initiative that Douyin and TikTok parent ByteDance set up in 2020 to take advantage of its massive user base in China.
Douyin has some 600 million daily active users in China, and has similarly huge followings in other countries around the world, including the US, where lawmakers are debating a measure that could ban the app on national security grounds.
In China Douyin is challenging dominant takeaway delivery players Meituan and Ele.me, owned by internet giant Alibaba Group.
The sector was already growing quickly before the pandemic, but jumped due to lockdowns, increasing to 544 million users in 2021, up nearly 30 percent year-on-year, according to Chinese market research firm Zhiyan.
Douyin launched its service initially in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, and local media reports suggested the offering could launch across the rest of China as early as next month.
Douyin told Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post it was “considering expanding the pilot cities” but that “there is no specific timetable”.
Users in trial cities are able to order takeaway by accessing an option added to Douyin channels.
Douyin has also in recent days launched an online “supermarket” selling items ranging from snacks to household necessities and cosmetics, according to local media reports.
Douyin Supermarket promotes Douyin’s own payment too, which competes with that offered by dominant messaging app WeChat.
Chinese market analytics firm 36kr has said it believes Douyin’s e-commerce business reached 1.3 trillion yuan ($191m, £159m) to 1.5tn yuan in gross merchandise value last year, only two years after the launch of its e-commerce division in 2020.
By comparison it took Alibaba 10 years and JD.com 13 years to reach one trillion yuan in GMV.