ByteDance expands footprint in new consumption with investment in online influencer
Published: Jul 04, 2021 08:43 PM

Video blogger Li Ziqi. Photo: screenshot of Li Ziqi's video

Video blogger Li Ziqi. Photo: screenshot of Li Ziqi's video

Chinese tech firm, ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, is aiming to expand its footprint in the booming livestream and new consumption sectors, as it invested in one of China's most globally popular vloggers Li Ziqi, which could also help expand the promotion of Chinese culture overseas, experts said. 

According to data from Chinese corporate database Tianyancha, ByteDance has taken a stake of 1.48 percent in Hangzhou Weinian Brand Management Co, a contracted company of Li, who has 15.7 million subscribers on YouTube and 3.2 million followers on TikTok. 

After attracting a great number of fans online, Li also sells local specialties such as Luosifen on Chinese e-commerce platforms, as more young consumers in China shift their shopping from in-store to online, a trend further propelled by the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Through the deal, ByteDance plans to expand its core livestreaming business, targeting more industries and better integrating its invested companies from the new consumption sector into the company's ecosystem, Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute of Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

ByteDance needs to collaborate with companies like Hangzhou Weinian and work with key opinion leaders to generate more traffic for brands from popular platforms such as Douyin, the Chinese sister app of TikTok, said Dong. 

ByteDance has been speeding up its footprint in the new consumption sector as it has invested in 28 companies that have become popular among young consumers since 2020, domestic tech site TMTPost reported in May.

Since e-commerce and online consumption will be a mainstream pattern, led by young Chinese consumers, it is understandable that ByteDance wants to grab more market share among this powerful consumer group and generate more traffic, said Dong. 

Moreover, the collaboration will also help boost the promotion of Chinese culture abroad and in turn help create a positive impression for Chinese companies in the long run, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday.