Editor’s note: A version of this post by Hans Tung and Zara Zhang first appeared on Han’s blog. Hans Tung is a managing partner at GGV Capital. Zara Zhang is an investment analyst at GGV Capital. ByteDance and Musical.ly are GGV portfolio companies. For more on ByteDance, listen to their interview with Liu Zhen, senior vice president of ByteDance (and former head of Uber China), on the 996 PodcastThis post contains multiple videos and is best viewed on mobile with sound on.

What is the most popular app in China? You’re probably thinking WeChat. Though that might still be true, WeChat now has a serious challenger whose meteoric rise has taken China by storm (and WeChat’s owner Tencent by surprise). That is Douyin (抖音, literally “shaking sound” in Chinese), one of the most popular short video apps in China, as well as worldwide. It is owned by ByteDance (a.k.a Toutiao), an AI-driven media company in China and one of the world’s most valuable startups, most recently valued at $30 billion. ByteDance is a GGV portfolio company.

Douyin is one of the few apps that has enjoyed wild popularity both inside and outside of China. In the first quarter of 2018, Douyin’s international version, Tik Tok, was the most downloaded iPhone app worldwide, totaling 45.8 million and surpassing Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, according to the American research company Sensor Tower.

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