Douyin launches new platform to match merchants with influencers

In its latest bid to mine the untapped potential of China’s local life services sector, Douyin has created a platform to match merchants with local influencers.

The new platform, called Tandianbao, aims to standardise the end-to-end delivery of “store visits” (探店) – a type of promotional content in which influencers share their first-hand experiences as consumers. The platform assigns influencers to businesses based on the needs of both parties and, once the assignment is accepted, influencers are expected to arrange a store visit in the next 24 hours.

Store visits are a key strategy for platforms looking to generate revenue through local life services, acting as a “seeding” (peer-to-peer recommendation) behaviour that creates exposure for local businesses. Store visits also drive traffic to platforms, which become the trusted source of recommendations.

“There are now more than 10 million creators on the Douyin platform whose main business is to eat, drink, have fun and visit stores as a side job, and there have been more than one billion store visit videos throughout the year,” said Wang Dinghui, head of Douyin Life Services Merchandising, at a conference earlier this year.  

Tandianbao is the latest step in Douyin’s expansion into the local life services sector, which is currently dominated by food delivery service Meituan. Local life services connect users to businesses in their local area, whether through on-demand delivery of locally stocked products or through recommendations of bars, restaurants, and leisure activities available in the surrounding area. The sector is expected to generate 2.5 trillion RMB (343 billion USD) by 2025, according to a report by research firm iiMedia.

Douyin’s transaction value from local life services surpassed 100 billion RMB (13.9 billion USD) in the first half of this year – an impressive figure that is still less than half of Meituan’s transaction value from similar services. The company is hoping that number will climb to 290 million RMB (39.7 million USD) by the end of this year, with Tandianbao playing a key role by increasing the efficiency and quality assurance of store visit content.

Tandianbao has been launched in 34 cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, and Hangzhou and is currently only open to the catering industry.


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