Bytedance has rebranded its short video app Huoshan to link it more closely to Douyin, according to a company announcement on Wednesday, as it moves toward combining the two platforms.

Why it matters: As Douyin’s growth decelerates in an increasingly saturated short video market, Bytedance has been trying to draw users from lower-tier cities—Huoshan’s core segment—to join the platform, escalating its existing competition with rival app, Tencent-backed Kuaishou.

  • Douyin and Kuaishou have around 158.8 million users in common as of June 2019, an increase 118.4% year on year, according to a report from research firm Quest Mobile, signaling heightening competition between the two platforms.

Details: Following the rebrand, “Douyin Huoshan Version” (our translation) will continue to operate independently and receive increased support from Bytedance, the company said.

  • Creators who produce high-quality content on Douyin Huoshan Version qualify for additional support from the platform, a program which promises a total of 10 billion views-worth of traffic across the two apps, as well as consultation services and exclusive partnership opportunities.
  • Douyin Huoshan Version aims to shore up the number of content creators with massive followings, the company said. In the next six months, according to the announcement, it will help at least 10 content creators achieve a following of more than 10 million users and help 100 creators gain over a million followers.
  • The rebrand is intended to help Houshan and Douyin better serve their existing user bases and enrich the content on both platforms, Zhang Nan, the head of Douyin, said in a post on content aggregator Jinri Toutiao.
  • Huoshan had 50 million daily active users as of the end of 2019.
  • Bytedance declined to comment.

Context: Launched in April 2016, Huoshan was created by the Jinri Toutiao team and was Bytedance’s earliest experiment in short video, according to a TechPlanet report.

  • Huoshan’s core user base hails from from third- and fourth-tier cities.
  • Different from Douyin, which focuses primarily on short video, livestreaming is one of Huoshan’s most profitable businesses, according to the TechPlanet report.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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