ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, has proved it can generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue from online ads on its blockbuster video apps. Now it may finally have figured out how to get a bigger piece of the huge games market, after having made repeated missteps in the category.
In April, ByteDance launched a new mobile game in China based on One Piece—a popular Japanese cartoon about pirates. To promote the app, ByteDance paid an army of top influencers on its Douyin video app, the Chinese version of TikTok, which has 600 million daily active users. One of those influencers, Shao Yuxuan—an internet celebrity whose Douyin account, Crazy Sisters, has about 40 million followers—posted short videos in which she dressed up as One Piece’s main protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, in a red shirt and blue shorts.