TikTok has drawn attention from all over the world. Even if you have never used it before, you would still be familiar with its name. Many people have assumed that it is a US-generated platform, and normally awed at its real origin – a Chinese born and operated platform, a sister or parallel platform of Douyin. Because of the short-video platform–TikTok, and also its dispute with the US government, people have started to paying attention to what is really happening and changing in China. Two questions that hang over everyone’s mind seem to be: why China? And why TikTok? This book attempted to answer the question of why short-video platforms such as TikTok—the most popular ‘made in China’ product of all the Chinese digital platforms—became a significant competitor on the global stage.

This book explores the reasons behind the rise of short video platforms in China, with a focus on the sudden and unexpected success of TikTok and its parallel platform Douyin. Beginning with the historical development of China’s online screen industry, the book goes on to investigate the ICT industry, its business models and impact on the screen industry, to unfold the reasons behind the domestic popularity of Douyin. It draws on a spectrum of sources including policy documents, industry reports and expert analysis, which is supplemented by interviews with key people in the field. It traces the changing dynamics of the Chinese online screen ecology, and shows how a mixture of technological, industrial and cultural factors contributed to the proliferation of short-video platforms in China.

This engaging and topical book will be ideal reading for students and scholars of media and communication studies, platform studies, and political economy studies.

chapter |13 pages

Telling Chinese stories

part 1|50 pages

Chinese soil

chapter 1|16 pages

The power of platforms in the digital age

chapter 2|15 pages

Dancing with giants

Birth of ByteDance

chapter 3|17 pages

The migration of creative labour

part 2|70 pages

Leap forward

chapter 4|19 pages

Swipe craze

chapter 5|21 pages

Two souls in one shell

chapter 6|18 pages

Fortune-telling business

chapter |10 pages

Tales of the people