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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Y.

Douyin, Kuaishou & Bilibili Marching on the E-Learning Industry

Short video-sharing social networking apps like Douyin (Chinese TikTok), Kuaishou and video sharing website Bilibili are planning to enter the digital & online education industry under the corona virus outbreak in China.

The writer Vanessa Y. is a Chinese media contents producer who has studied and worked in media industry in both Beijing and Stockholm.

A P.E. teacher in China is having a lesson in the digital classroom.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, home quarantine and the delayed spring school term in 31 provinces across China, online learning has become the latest and largest demand among the internet products and service markets. Followed is how the hottest Chinese video sharing social networking apps/platforms react to this:

(DAU: Daily Active Users, MAU: Monthly Active Users)

Douyin (400million DAU, Notice that TikTok targets the market outside of China. TikTok and Douyin is one app with two different groups of audience and content producers.)

Since Feb. 6th, by searching the phrase “Have lessons at home (在家上课)” in Douyin, a wide range of online courses will pop up. No matter if you are a first grader in elementary school or going to finish from high school in the up-coming term, you can find the matching courses to follow and study them free of charge. Till now, already 5000 lessons are uploaded and tens of thousands are coming on the way. These online courses are provided both by the private education schools and public schools.

In fact, ever since 2018, ByteDance (字节跳动), the owner of Douyin, has already been planning on entering the big online education market in China, a country that for thousands of years has always valued academic education up to the highest degree. ByteDance started with acquiring established online education schools such as Qingbei Online School (清北网校, which features in only employing teachers from the best academies such as Qinghua Univ., Beijing Univ., Beijing Normal Univ. and other Project 211 or Project 985 Univ. in China. Now ByteDance seized this chance to publish the online lessons all over its digital products/networking services including: Xigua Video (西瓜视频, Toutiao (今日头条,, Qingbei Online School (清北网校

Kuaishou (100million+ DAU

Kuaishou App launched the channel “Studying at home (在家学习)” on Feb. 1st. It cooperates with over 200 private education businesses to give free lessons not only to students from kindergarten to high school but also vocational schools. The online lessons can be received both in live-video and recorded-video forms. One feature that stands out is that Kuaishou promises an extra 5 billion internet traffic (views/clicks/visits) for supporting free and high quality lessons to appear among (student) users.

Bilibili (128million MAU

Just recently, Bilibili or B Site as often called in the short name by Chinese, is associated with Qinghua Univ. Beijing Univ. Shanghai Gezhi High School (all top Chinese academies and schools ) and other private education businesses to launch the new project “Keep studying on B Site (B站不停学)”. The Project name is actually developed from some well know memes among the B site users, such as “I graduated from B site University”, “B site is a studying site” and so on. This has to thank to the varied private uploaders (Up主, meaning: the content producers) with their quality contents. They range from photographic & video editing software tips, English learning, linear algebra, Calculus studies to music instrument, artistic designs. Behind this fanaticism of learning skills from uploaders, just like ByteDance, it is a planned business direction by Bilibili. Ever since 2017, the site has already started an internal training and supporting program to uploaders who manage educational/skill learning contents. Till Autumn 2019, B site has officially gathered all the uploaders under this category and keep establishing big names among them to attract more student users. Now while most Chinese students are still in home quarantine, the new project “Keep Studying on B Site” will provide tutoring lessons on all subjects for middle school and high school students.

Conclusion today:

Comparing with the other two video sharing apps, Bilibili or B Site seems to stand a better chance to attract student users. Because it is originally a site made for teens and university aged users, also, before the outbreak of the virus, it has already won a reputation on sharing knowledge or inspirational contents in academic disciplines, occupations and other professional subjects to its users. Thus it looks more natural to move further in to a more serious digital learning business. Yet Kuaishou and ByteDance have clearly shown their ambitions to enter the business as well even before the outbreak of the corona virus and home quarantine. It only implies how attractive the digital education and online learning market in China is. In the meantime, the market is still in shaping, there are many gaps to fill in, esp. professional teachers, high quality and adapted contents for digital platforms. Meanwhile, the platforms are usually used for entertainment or casual learning, so the newly opened online learning functions or channels surely need to be adjusted and developed in order to create a more professional teaching and learning environment.

Is this market for you who are outside of China:

Sure! Are you interested in stepping on to the Chinese digital education market?

· Who are you?

Star It Media has given a profile of who the potential winners of the game can look like: you can be 1, a private person who provides tutoring classes or tips on language learning, music instrument playing, scientific subjects, sports, arts studies such as art painting skills, art history etc. with unique and strong personal features in your class; 2, A private business: well-structured courses with high quality, given in either a humorous or a unique style; 3, A private or public school which gives good quality and a range of lessons for the audience to select, in the meantime, use the chance to brand and promote your school at the same time; 4, An institute or organization such as a museum which can give a course over your exhibition, either in visual or audio form, or why not both, the goal is to impress your audience with sensations. Of course, this is also a chance for branding.

· How to make profit through this? (To be continued)

After reading the article you may have the impression that all lessons are free of charges on Douyin, Kuaishou and Bilibili. Where is your share if you enter the market in China? The answer is that 1, now is a special time that the platforms and schools are mostly doing charity for helping out people getting through the difficulty under the virus outbreak and home quarantine period, but at the same time, they gain traffic to their media accounts and websites, which can turn into a profit later. 2, normally, the content providers earn their shares through: 0), shares from the platform. 1), charging fees from the audience. 2), giving free lessons but accept sponsorship and insert advertisement. Since this is another big subject, Star It Media will produce a specific report on it soon. Subscribe here or our Linkedin blog to follow the story!

What can Star It Media offer?

We will keep digging in to the topic of digital education and the learning market in China and update you here. Follow us on the site or on Linkedin to read the latest report and analysis.

If you are ready to step into the market, we can offer data analysis, strategy design, translation, establishing media accounts, SEO, SMO and branding services for you. Contact us for more information.


4, 2019 Kuaishou Data Report by Kuaishou Data Research 10/12/2019

5, 2019 Q3 Bilibili Finance Report by Bilibili 20/11/2019

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