By Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh
BEIJING (Reuters) – Douyin, the Chinese version of short video app TikTok, hit 600 million daily active users in August, an executive with parent company ByteDance said on Tuesday, a 50% jump since the start of the year.
Users in China are not able to access the TikTok app, which is wildly popular with teenagers worldwide and the subject of a fierce rift between Beijing and Washington over security concerns, but can use Douyin, which is similar in design.
Four-year-old Douyin’s more than 22 million creators have earned a total of 41.7 billion yuan ($6.15 billion) over the past year, ByteDance China chief executive officer Kelly Zhang said during an online conference. She said Douyin aimed to help them double that income over the next year.
Douyin’s surge comes as TikTok faces a possible ban in the United States by the Trump administration, which wants ByteDance to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations.
U.S.-listed Oracle Corp said on Monday it would team up with ByteDance, which could help keep TikTok operating in the United States.
Like TikTok, Douyin allows users to watch short videos and livestreams and make in-app purchases.
It is currently one of the most popular social media apps in China and its growth is seen as indicative of TikTok’s potential evolution.
In comparison, China’s messaging app WeChat, which is owned by Tencent Holdings, said it had over 1 billion users using the app everyday in 2018. China had 1.6 billion monthly active mobile internet users as of May, according to market researcher QuestMobile.
ByteDance is considering listing its China business in Hong Kong or Shanghai, amid escalating tensions between world’s two largest economies, Reuters has reported. That listing plan was initiated after U.S. regulators started to review ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly last year.
The bulk of ByteDance’s revenue is still generated in China, sources have told Reuters, mainly from ad income on Douyin and its Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao.
(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Sam Holmes)