ByteDance’s Douyin, a short video app that is the counterpart of TikTok for mainland China, recently launched desktop software on its official website called “Douyin Chat,” providing service for Windows and Mac clients. The site shows that the software was updated on December 30, 2022, and the latest version is 1.0.0.
To start out, users need to use the Douyin app to scan a code and log in. After completing this step, they can chat with their Douyin friends. The software interface is relatively simple, and the overall layout is similar to the desktop version of WeChat. The capabilities are also relatively simple, only providing a chat function.
In fact, ByteDance has been on the social media road for nearly four years now, and its ambitions were fully revealed with the launch of Duoshan.
At the beginning of 2019, Duoshan, which was focused on short videos and social interaction, was officially launched, indicating that ByteDance had officially entered the social media field.
In May 2019, another social app called Feiliao was officially launched.
In March 2020, Douyin launched a voice-based live broadcast function. After web hosts started broadcasting, users could apply to connect. If too many users applied, the host could also create a chatroom. Soon afterwards, Douyin tested two new functions – “connection” and “acquaintance” – aiming at strangers’ social interaction and acquaintances’ social interaction respectively.
In May, Douyin launched a video call function whereby users could make video calls as long as they follow each other to become friends.
In September 2020, Douyin launched functions such as “same city,” “friends” and “daily,” further improving the social chain of the platform’s users.
In April 2021, Douyin successively launched the functions of “shaking” and “personal business card,” focusing on socializing amongst strangers. In the same month, Douyin tested the “friends chatroom,” focusing on multi-person video chats.
So far, Douyin has tried out almost all social media functions, but they have never made a splash. In particular, two social apps, Duoshan and Feiliao, have ended in failure despite the high hopes placed on them. ByteDance now has to turn around and start seeking new ways to explore the social media field.
Clearly, ByteDance’s strategy in social media has changed from launching independent social apps to creating a metaverse-based social ecosystem within the Douyin app. In August of last year, the platform launched a “Zaizi” function, allowing users to create their own unique digital image and virtual avatar. Shortly afterwards, the virtual space “Douyin Nest” was also launched.
Obviously, ByteDance has not given up on social media. Now, the metaverse has become the new key concept for ByteDance to explore social functions.