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China tech

TikTok tests Alibaba's e-commerce might with viral videos

Streaming app helps owner ByteDance grab bigger slice of lucrative market

A farmer in China's Shaanxi province is live-streaming his tips for choosing apples via Douyin, the Chinese version of short video app TikTok. (Photo by Michelle Chan)

HONG KONG -- Zhao Zhongqiang is a TikTok addict. Every day, the 44-year-old from a farming village in northern China's Shaanxi province spends hours scrolling down the viral video streaming app that has taken both China and the world by storm. And who can blame him?

After all, on a good day Zhao sells 800,000 yuan ($113,520) worth of apples, cherries and numerous other fruits on the platform, both for himself and his local community. That puts him among growing numbers of Chinese merchants who are learning to exploit the app -- called Douyin in China and which boasts 400 million daily active users in the country -- as a lucrative sales channel.

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