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ByteDance-Owned Apps See Sharp Surge in China Downloads Amid Outbreak

By Ding Yi / Feb 10, 2020 01:53 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

ByteDance appears to be a beneficiary of China’s coronavirus outbreak, with three of its apps making it onto App Annie’s top 5 list of non-game apps by downloads on Apple’s App Store in China this January.

News aggregator Jinri Toutiao claimed the second spot on the list, seeing its ranking increase by 52 places from last December, while short-video app Xigua Video came in fourth, rising from 36th place the previous month. ByteDance’s video-sharing app Douyin (known overseas as TikTok) came in fifth.

App Annie told Caixin that the explosion in downloads of the Jinri Toutiao and Xigua Video in January stemmed from a “stay-at-home” advisory issued by the government due to the coronavirus outbreak and the premiere of a major motion picture on the two platforms, “Lost in Russia.” The film was originally set for a theatrical release on the first day of the Lunar New Year on Jan. 25, which was cancelled due to concerns over the virus.

“Lost in Russia” had more than 600 million total views as of Jan. 27, local media reported, although its free online release encountered pushback from many Chinese cinemas and film studios.

Kuaishou took the top spot on App Annie’s list in January. The Douyin rival won a bid for the rights to distribute 1 billion yuan of cash stuffed in virtual red envelopes during the 2020 Spring Festival Gala live-streamed by China Central Television the evening of Jan. 24. The Gala is the world’s most-watched television program, and was considered to boost Kuaishou’s user base in January.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: TikTok Outperforms Instagram to Become World’s Fourth Most Downloaded App in 2019


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