From April to August, a song called Old Town Road dominated the Billboard singles charts for 19 weeks, breaking Mariah Carey’s record of 16 consecutive titles in 1995.
How popular is this song? According to data from Nielsen Music, it has been played 143 million times a week nationwide in May, and the total population of the United States was just 327 million.
Before the release of Old Town Road, singer Lil Nas X was still a nobody with no fan base. The song’s popularity was mainly attributed to Tik Tok, the overseas version of Douyin. The song was used more than 110,000 times soon after it was uploaded on Tik Tok.
People are curious about Apps from China going oversea. In recent years, a large number of apps have been introduced to the oversea market. Can the popularity of Tik Tok prove that China has the strength of mobile application at last? Or is it just one lucky case?
In 2013, when Ma Huateng talked about going international at the Shenzhen IT Leaders Summit, he placed great hopes on Wechat. “So far, the only hope I can see of internationalization for Tencent, is Wechat.” Just a year before he made this comment, the oversea version of WeChat 4.0 was officially launched by Tencent, taking the first step on the road of internationalization.
Tencent’s overseas publicity strategies are quite aggressive, from signing Messi as a global spokesman to inviting Neymar for shooting advertisements. It is said that the budget allocated to Wechat’s internationalization advertisement is as high as 2 billion yuan. Unfortunately, money does not always work. Wechat’s internationalization trip somewhat failed Ma’s overall expectations. In the global market competition of social and communications App in 2018, Wechat only took the lead in China. Most other countries were occupied by WhatsApp Messenger, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.
WeChat did not do well enough in terms of localization, at least not paying as much attention as it does to the domestic market.
Take India for example. Haumanshu Gupta, the vice president of Wechat’s Indian market strategy team from 2012 to 2015, said that “Wechat’s product design is entirely in accordance with Zhang Xiaolong’s vision and has many very popular functions in China, but these functions are not appealing to Indian users.”
In addition, in the year when Wechat decided to go oversea, WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook and other major free social apps had already taken their share in the social media app market. Later, although Wechat had made great efforts in marketing, it was really difficult to win more users from the leading players.
This is related to the application characteristics of communication social meida. When the relationship between people has settled in a chat application, it is difficult to migrate to another one. It’s just like the case in China, for other social apps to try to challenge WeChat’s dominating position in China market.
So what did Tik Tok do right in this battle to become the winner in the oversea market?
First, Douyin started its oversea journey several years later than Wechat. The popularity of smart phones and mobile Internet has made the world more flat. The level of Internet infrastructure in various countries has become more similar, and the requirements for products have more common points.
Most importantly, three months after the launch of Tik Tok, Douyin tookover music.ly and soon completed the merger, which unified the new platform named Tik Tok. So the achievements of Douyin can be regarded as the results of the joint efforts of the two platforms.
For Tik Tok and ByteDance Company, a product that successfully captured the Chinese and overseas markets might make it possible for it to copy the pattern and create the next boom product. For other Chinese companies which are looking forward to doing well in the international market, Tik Tok’s proven track of success can also help them make more rational decisions.
Moreover, on the 4G basis, business model innovation with exhausted potential may no longer have enough energy to change the current mobile Internet landscape – but the promotion and development of 5G will bring a new world.
With the development of mobile communication technology specification from the first generation to the fourth generation, people’s communication media form also experienced three levels of jump, from text, picture to video. Enterprises that have not been able to go international before can use 5G as a new technology platform to provide users with faster and more convenient software or hardware services. Firms that are good at using 5G technology can also get effective feedback from users, and achieve rapid upgrading iterations in China and global markets, thus occupying new markets.
In the past, there are classic cases of success to occupy the global market. Now, with the technical support of 5G, Chinese enterprises seem to take the lead in the competition in the global market.