China’s Version of TikTok Now Offering Grocery Deliveries

China’s Version of TikTok Now Offering Grocery Deliveries

While in-app purchases on TikTok remain rare, China’s version — Douyin — does well in this area and has even launched an online supermarket

4 0
Hayley Zhao
2:02 PM HKT, Thu February 2, 2023 1 mins read

On January 28, the first work day after the Chinese New Year holiday in the Chinese mainland, Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, discreetly launched an online supermarket. The platform’s debut was barely accompanied by any advertising or marketing campaigns.

The online market is very similar to other Chinese product-delivery companies like Meituan and Eleme. It offers items that one would typically expect from any walk-in supermarket, such as fresh produce, drinks, snacks, cleaning supplies, and other household products. It also offers same-day delivery for orders received before 4 PM, which is quite common in China.

Douyin’s move is unsurprising. The short-video platform has 800 million users in the Chinese mainland and has served as a space for livestreamers to sell their products since 2018.

Digital entrepreneurs, including farmers from rural China, have long been using Douyin as a channel to sell their products. (For more on how the short-video platform connects rural farms with urban residents, stay tuned for RADII’s mini-documentary series A Sustainable Future Is Here, sponsored by East West Bank.)

douyin, tiktok, livestream, ecommerce

Young farmers sell fresh produce directly from their fields via livestream sessions on Douyin. Image via VCG

In 2021, Douyin launched official in-app ecommerce channels. According to The Paper, a Chinese online media outlet, the platform’s gross merchandise value, meaning its total sales value, totaled 1.5 trillion RMB (around 222 billion USD) in 2022.

Interestingly, Douyin’s business model doesn’t necessarily translate well overseas. While it’s common for people in China to buy directly from livestreamers, this remains a rare occurrence in the Western world — specifically on TikTok.

Despite having 755 million users, which is almost as much as Douyin, TikTok announced that it would be abandoning its live ecommerce initiative in the U.S. and Europe last July; this comes after the platform failed to meet its targets.

Even though livestreaming is seen by some as the future of online shopping, its effectiveness in Western countries has yet to be proven.

Cover image via Depositphotos

Join the Conversation
Write comment

Frustrated? Maybe stop looking at a screen and go outside