You can now shop with one of China’s hottest news services
Imagine Flipboard rolling out an online shopping platform.
That’s happening in China, where popular news aggregator Toutiao recently launched a shopping app called Zhidian, which roughly translates as “value point”.
Zhidian markets itself as a destination for budget shoppers, sourcing products directly from factories to lower the prices. For now, it appears to carry a more limited range of products than bigger rivals like Pinduoduo. Interestingly, it sells men’s clothing but not women’s.
But being a product from Toutiao, it's applied what it does best by including several news feeds -- covering topics like health and food, similar to those on Toutiao.
It's not the first time Toutiao has ventured into e-commerce. The company has partnerships with JD.com and Alibaba, allowing users to shop on their retail platforms without leaving the Toutiao app.
The Toutiao app also operates its own shopping section named Fangxin Gou, which is said to target middle-aged men in lower-tier cities who aren't mainstream online shoppers (This may explain why its new app Zhidian doesn’t sell women’s clothes).
Despite those previous efforts, Zhidian is the first independent e-commerce app launched by Toutiao, whose operator Bytedance is known for its network of successful content apps. One of them is the hugely popular video app Douyin, known as Tik Tok outside of China. The high-profile startup hosted Apple CEO Tim Cook, who toured its offices last week during his trip to China.