As TikTok Faces Shutdown, A Sister App Emerges

As TikTok is being banned across the world, its sister app Douyin is gaining traction and may soon penetrate Western markets.

By Brian Scheid | Published

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Over the course of the last year, TikTok has come under fire at the local, state, and federal levels of government because of the perceived notion that the data they collect on United States citizens is not protected properly. The short-form video giant has disputed these claims at every turn, but that has not stopped state governments from banning the use of the app on any state-issued device or service.  Now its sister app Douyin has been gaining popularity in China, and if it continues at this pace it will soon penetrate the Western markets.

TikTok and Douyin are identical applications developed by ByteDance which owns both of them.  Douyin has been steadily growing its user base and eclipsed 730 million users by the end of 2022. The main focus of the application is to offer consumers a place to go and voice their dissatisfaction with any company that they do business with.  According to, “its users range from teachers based in rural China who record the impoverished living conditions that many local children face, to laid-off Chinese workers making a living live streaming.”

The general feeling in China is that the most effective way to get a company to take a complaint you have seriously is by expressing that dissatisfaction on social media. When the citizens of China reach out directly to the company, they are met with slow response times if they are lucky, and in many instances, they won’t receive any response at all. Since the Chinese government monitors and regulates the news media so strictly that reporting these issues to them also has those complaints fall into a blank abyss.   

It appears that Douyin not only fills this void for the citizens of China to have their voices heard, and companies are taking notice. When a video starts to gain steam and is about to go viral these Chinese Corporations do take notice and reach out to the complainant almost immediately to rectify the problem to the best of their ability. We are also seeing a trend of older users who have really connected with the app in large numbers.

Douyin is incredibly easy to use, and that ease of usage is the major appeal to older citizens as it is relatively simple to shoot and post their videos using their phones. Companies may not be answering phone complaints efficiently, but they have all started creating teams of employees whose focus is discovering these complaints and proactively attempting to rectify the issue for the customer. Once they have reached a satisfactory agreement the company will then ask for them to remove the video from the site. 

These stories of dissatisfaction about whatever services or goods they paid for that did not live up to the company’s promises or the customer’s expectation travel through the internet like a California brushfire. Thus, impacting the company’s revenue and sales which is a powerful tool for consumers to wield against mega-corporations.  When this app makes its way to America it will be interesting to see if the sister company Douyin faces the same backlash that their sister app has faced.