Time: 17.00-18.30 (CST), 9.00-10.30 (GMT)

Who’s really behind China’s first truly global internet giant?

In 2012, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance was just a handful of geeks working out of a scrappy four-bedroom apartment in Beijing. Today, it is the world’s fastest-growing tech behemoth worth in excess of $100 billion, unrecognizable from its humble beginnings.

The author of ‘Attention Factory: The Story of TikTok and China's ByteDance’, Matthew Brennan is a China internet specialist and internationally recognized speaker. ‘Attention Factory’ is packed with over 300 pages of original analysis and exclusive reporting of ByteDance and its products, Douyin (TikTok) and Toutiao.

CBBC is delighted to have Matt join the webinar to share his knowledge of ByteDance’s eco-system and the platform’s ambitions and global aspirations. With the context of Douyin/TikTok now being heavily used for marketing promotion and more and more KOLs taking advantage of this to conduct live-streaming sales. Will this phenomenon be duplicated to help business for its commercialisation in foreign market? Furthermore, featuring Duncan Clark, Vice Chair of CBBC, the webinar will also form a small discussion group to explore how these emerging China tech companies will play a more prominent role globally.




17.00 CST/9.00 GMT Opening Remarks, Tom Simpson, Managing Director, CBBC China

17.05 CST/9.05 GMT In-depth sharing of ByteDance and how Douyin/TikTok inspires business for marketing and commercialisation

Matthew Brennan, author of Attention Factory: The Story of TikTok and China's ByteDance

17.50 CST/9.50 GMT Panel on China’s tech companies’ growth with a global viewpoint  

Duncan Clark, Vice Chair, CBBC

Matthew Brennan, author of Attention Factory: The Story of TikTok and China's ByteDance

Chaired by Tom Simpson, Managing Director, CBBC China

18.20 CST/10.20 GMT  Q&A


Key Facts about Douyin & TikTok:

  • Douyin was launched in China in Sep 2016. TikTok was launched the year later. 
  • Douyin/TikTok is a mobile App for short-form mobile video, total downloads are over 1.5 billion, making it the seventh-most downloaded app of the 2010s. 
  • TikTok/Douyin users use the app largely to create, share, and view content based around lip syncing, dancing, comedy skits, and other physical activities. 
  • There are an estimated 800 million MAUs (monthly active users) of Tiktok. 
  • It is estimated that 57% of TikTok/Douyin’s userbase is in China.
  • ByteDance reports 400 million DAUs (daily active users) of Douyin in China and claims that 68% of Chinese social media users/ 59% of smartphone users are Douyin users.
  • Chinese users account for 8 out of every 10 minutes of content viewed on TikTok

About the book, ‘Attention Factory: The Story of TikTok and China's ByteDance’ by Matthew Brennan

• Which little known growth hacks did ByteDance use in their rise to the top?

• Exactly who is Zhang Yiming, the company’s mysterious founder?

• Why was ByteDance, a Chinese company, the one to build TikTok?

• Does TikTok herald a new era of Chinese companies challenging Silicon Valley?

• How does the legendary TikTok algorithm work?


Discover how recommendation engines, content operations, and good old China-style growth hacking hold the key to this company’s success.


Matthew Brennan

Matthew is an author and internationally recognised speaker who specialises in Chinese mobile internet technology and innovation. His opinions have been featured across global media including Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BBC, The Financial Times and Forbes. For several years his company China Channel has organised the largest annual WeChat digital marketing conference in China for international brands.

Matthew has delivered dozens of presentations for many prestigious companies including Google, Tencent, Walmart, Visa, LinkedIn, Boston Consulting Group and more. Originally from London, England, Matthew speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese having been based in mainland China for 16 years.


Duncan Clark

Founder, investor and leading advisor on China’s dynamic technology and consumer sectors, Duncan is a recognized expert on the Internet and entrepreneurship in China. He has lived and worked in Beijing and Shanghai for more than 25 years.

Duncan is Chairman of BDA China (www.bda.com), a Beijing-based company of over 130 professionals he founded in 1994 after working as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley in London and Hong Kong. BDA advises hedge funds and private equity firms investing in high growth companies in the technology and consumer sectors in China and other Asian markets. 

An early advisor to leading China Internet entrepreneurs, Duncan is author of ‘Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built’, the definitive work on China’s e-commerce and technology giant, its founder Jack Ma, and the forces and people that propelled its rise.  ‘Alibaba’ was named a Book of the Year by The Economist magazine and short-listed for the Financial Times/McKinsey ‘Business Book of the Year’ by the Financial Times/McKinsey.  The book, first published in 2016, has appeared in over thirty languages. 

A senior China policy advisor to institutional investors, corporations and governments, Duncan is also an early-stage stage investor of a number of technology ventures including AppAnnie (invested by Sequoia) and Radish Fiction (invested by SoftBank and Kakao). He is an independent director of Bangkok Bank (China) in Shanghai, a member of the Global Board of Trustees of the Asia Society in New York and a member of the advisory board of the Pictet Digital thematic mutual fund, managed by Pictet Asset Management in Geneva.  Duncan also serves on the international board of WildAid, the San Francisco non-profit whose mission is to end the trade of illegal wildlife products in our lifetime.

Duncan is a Visiting Senior Fellow of the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics; and a former Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. He is Vice Chair of the China-Britain Business Council, and previously served as Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in China. He was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to UK-China trade and investment.

A UK citizen raised in the UK, US and France, Duncan is a graduate of the London School of Economics, where he is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow, and a former Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute and Graduate School of Business. His personal website is www.duncanclark.com