Apple Opens a Douyin Account. Will It Pay Off?

What Happened: Apple has opened an account on Douyin and gained 236,000 followers in less than 15 hours, according to 36kr. Apple’s account on the short video platform will be “passive” and primarily publish short videos filmed with iPhones from super-fan content creators. This will boost digital interaction with Apple customers while showcasing the iPhone’s superb photography and filming capabilities. Recently, Apple has increased its marketing efforts in China to fight off competition from local players like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi. There’s no doubt that this strategy has paid off considering that the American tech giant hit a record 23 percent market share in China in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Apple has used its Douyin account so far to showcase the filming capabilities of its iPhone 13 Pro. Photo: Screenshot, Douyin

The Jing Take: Time and time again, the global giant has capitalized on the popularity of content creators and short videos to harness the power of participation and introduce calls to action. In 2020, it invited the brand’s social media followers to join the #makeitmini challenge and upload short videos on TikTok, where they shrink bigger objects into their mini forms. And last spring, Apple introduced a new version of iMovie featuring Storyboards and Magic Movie, which shows the brand’s commitment to content creators.

This strategy ensures greater audience engagement and builds a positive brand experience. Apple has now applied the same strategy in China where the popularity of short-form videos has gone through the roof. 

A report from the China Internet Audiovisual Content and Service Association showed that the short video sector grew 58 percent year-on-year to reach a valuation of $31.7 billion (RMB205 billion) in 2020. Furthermore, 95 percent of all people online in China (944 million people) have used online audiovisual services as of December 2020. A different report highlights that China’s short video market is forecasted to reach US$134.30 billion in 2025, growing at a CAGR of 33.46 percent for the period spanning 2021-2025.

Here, Apple has understood that it needs a video marketing strategy to engage Chinese consumers and transform them from passive onlookers to active participants. Accordingly, it turned to a local website that is famous for content creation, and where quirky and very human videos help brands overcome several barriers associated with product placement. This should help Apple bring its products to the end consumer in a subtle way. 

Despite ongoing endeavors, Apple still lags behind in terms of followers when compared to Chinese smartphone brands, so let’s see if it can rival them through this approach.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


Marketing, Tech