Four of the five most popular apps in the US are Chinese | The USA Print

Four of the five most popular apps in the US are Chinese

TikTok is the center of attention of US legislators and a controversial focus for the treatment of its users’ private data, but beyond this, the success of the well-known app shows a clear trend in the country: four out of five The most popular apps in the US in March were created in China.

Many experts say that the secret to the success of these apps from the Asian giant is due to their algorithms, but there is a factor that must also be taken into account to understand how easily they succeed when they reach the West, and that is that the fierce Competition for users in China itself has given these companies a distinct advantage over their Western rivals.

The most downloaded apps from the Apple Store

The most downloaded Chinese apps from the Apple Store

Behind the massive and successful landing of Chinese apps in the United States there is a whole philosophy that focuses on the constant will to improve and that already has a term in the Chinese technology industry that could be translated as “embroidery”, as stated Fan Lu, a venture capitalist who invested in, the predecessor to TikTok: “Everyone works to improve their craft, stitch by stitch,” he explains.

In US download stores, the success of Chinese apps has been clear, with Temu being the most downloaded app in US app stores for the first three weeks of March, according to market research firm Sensor Tower.

Next to it is CapCut, the video editing app associated with TikTok, and TikTok itself. Fast fashion retailer Shein ranked fourth. Facebook was next, the only non-Chinese app in the top five.

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Temu, the latest Chinese app to take the US by storm

Temu, the latest Chinese app to take the US by storm


What all of these apps have in common is that they have sprung up in China, created by a young generation of tech entrepreneurs seeking global growth as the market at home becomes saturated, while their US competitors, according to investors, engineers and analysts, are ignorant. the organizational effectiveness of Chinese companies.

The way these Chinese-origin companies operate is repeated all the time: They take advantage of the billion Chinese Internet users to test user preferences and optimize their artificial intelligence models at home, and then export the technology abroad on a very solid knowledge.

This is how Guo Yu, a former principal engineer at ByteDance Ltd., TikTok’s parent, who worked at the company between 2014 and 2020, explains it: “They are sweeping markets where they need to constantly iterate products to meet user demands.”

Precisely, former workers at this company explain that they apply a very aggressive “horse racing” policy, a type of strategy where several teams are assigned to create the same product or function with slight variations and whoever achieves the version that works best receives more resources, while the other versions are discarded: “Sometimes it was said that the company had no soul because no one had complete control over the design of a product from start to finish,” says Guo.

Another of the secrets of ByteDance, the creator of TikTok, is that it has standardized protocols, systems and detailed metrics to gauge what users like, which helps it release new updates in a matter of days. Her star ella app features single-column scrolling, a layout she chose after creating several user interfaces, including a two-column one.

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On the other hand, PDD, Temu’s parent company, stands out in the sector for the constant overtime it demands of its engineers, who even receive several additional months of salary in bonuses based on their performance and results, and whose company has affirmed that its investment in research and development in 2022 increased by 15% over the previous year.

Temu is also known for handing out a lot of coupons and advertising discounts when downloading her app, with the aim of increasing her users and getting people to talk about her on her social media. These are marketing campaigns that try to reach potential buyers through almost every channel, from Facebook banners to targeted emails, even going all the way to the latest SuperBowl.

“When Chinese companies see an opportunity, they are more willing to buy user traffic at a much earlier stage and on a much larger scale than their American counterparts,” says Ivy Yang, a China technology analyst who has worked for the commerce giant. Alibaba mail.

However, the success stories of these Chinese apps have sometimes met with a cold reception from Americans, and they don’t always work as expected. AliExpress does not stop shining and the TopBuzz news aggregator failed miserably in America, which shows that the jump from China to the United States is not always a guarantee of success.

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