The fear of missing out, short video syndrome

For a while, China did not seem to have a dominant “Instagram-like” app, but suddenly we leap forward to create our own avant-garde version of Instagram: short video, which is short, musical, editable, personalized and addictive enough to make you feel even toxic. Here comes our little bedtime story.

Once upon a time, two women had competed ferociously to be the Queen of the short video in China.

For a while, Tencent’s daughter Kuaishou had been leading the wave and seized millions of hearts from low-income stratum.

But one day, the regulator slapped her face and said, “you flamboyant slut, attracting attention by indecent and inappropriate behaviors! You are grounded!”. (see our another story about it

Thus Kuaishou had to confess her sin and purify herself by shutting down lots of contents and related KOL accounts. From that moment, we believe Douyin, the favorite daughter from another internet parvenu Toutiao, gradually took the center of the stage. Not that Douyi is not on the witchhunt list, but compared to Kuaishou, Douyin has more refined performing techniques in terms of dancing, singing, or other diverse antics; and most of her admirers are often middle-class white-collar workers from tier 1, tier 2 cities. 

Though the cut-throat fight is still ongoing, Douyin recently claimed she has won over 150 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users. What is scarier, Tencent’s most powerful son WeChat began to complain to his father that this seductive Douyin is eating way his traffics and their user time.

The headstrong Tencent no longer could sit still. First he banned Douyin’s entry into WeChat’s homeland, second, he resurrected a dead son Weishi, and gave birth to 3 more kids in order to battle Douyin. In the meantime, Toutiao is absolutely not intimidated because he has already raised other two little charming daughters as warriors in this arena.

The vendetta between the two fathers deteriorated so quickly that their daily mud-slinging reportedly has been escalated into the lawsuit.

Another tycoon Alibaba kept a keen eye on the event progress, could not suppress his snicker and realized “The enemy of my enemy is a friend”. Alibaba hates Tencent so much that he started to offer an olive branch to Douyin, suggesting “I know you are advertising money loaded, but how about make your video shoppable, and you can earn more via commission?” Soon the experiment was implemented. But foxy Alibaba likes to play a double game because he just launched his own short video app Duke for e-commerce shopping.

On the sideline, Baidu suddenly burst through the crowd and shouted, “I will join this war as well, and my short video baby is called “Nani” (in the Japanese language means “What?”, which is often the first response from many spectators upon learning his announcement). Soon, we hear the heavy breathing from The Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu), several leading online streaming video platforms etc, yes, they are cracking their knuckles, trying to unveil their own short video product to benchmarking Douyin.

It is said all the major players are now slamming an eye-popping bid on the table, ready to burn tons of cash to ash, just for the sake of marketing propaganda and stealing KOLs from each other. This is the typical syndrome of “the fear of missing out”; so instead of coming up a more innovative way to fend off their territory, they stuck in the mode of “copy and compete”.

Author: Cecilia Wu