How to overtake TikTok, YouTube and Amazon in four months – learnings for your business success

In just four months, an unknown shopping app has overtaken 

  • TikTok, 
  • YouTube, 
  • Amazon, 

It is now the most downloaded free app in both the Apple App and Google Play in the U.S. – and that’s just the start. 

It follows the successful launches of other Chinese online businesses – who all think, act and communicate the same way, 

  • Alibaba, 
  • Shein, 
  • ByteDance, – is like Amazon – but cheaper. 

How did it grow so fast?

  • Users earn credits and better deals if they play certain in-app games,
  • Recommend the app to their friends on their social media,
  • Significant spend on paid advertising to launch. When TikTok (owner ByteDance) launched in 2018, the paid advertising spend was around $1 billion. 

Their PITCH 

  • TEMU offers a wide range of products at dirt-cheap prices, 

Who owns TEMU? 

  • Pingduoduo is Temu’s Chinese parent company,
  • In 2020, Pingduoduo replaced Alibaba as the company with the most e-commerce customers in China – with over 730 million monthly active users—double the U.S. population.

Chinese business success in the western world – think, act and communicate differently, 

The problem

  • AI-driven e-commerce businesses’ operating discovery algorithm recommendations software need an initial explosion of user data – the recommendations software does not work with small datasets, 
  • Typically western world businesses focus on organic social media – not paid advertising in the startup phase, then top up with paid advertising once they have real people – with real traction. 

The solution 

  • An aggressive high, spending marketing budget at launch is the price they pay to get off the ground. 
  • The Western world approach is – to search first (Amazon)
  • The Chinese approach is – discovery first. 

The playbook

1) Paid Advertising

  • TikTok 2018 launched the algorithm-powered discovery app in the U.S. ($1bn in paid advertising). The algorithms needed vast user data to run a successful and addictive – For You – page. It worked with nearly 100 million USA monthly active users.
  • TikTok used the same playbook with Douyin, its sister business – now with 600 million daily active users. 
  • The playbook – have a long-term monetisation strategy, and spend a lot to get to scale and network effects as fast as possible. 
  • Temu is following the same launch strategy. 

2) Continuous Scroll

  • Like fast-fashion e-commerce giant SHEIN and other successful Chinese businesses like TikTok, they give the user an endless scroll – endless videos to entertain.
  • Temu serves an endless scroll of products you can buy. It lifts the dwell time on site – hoping to inspire you to buy more. 
  • Big data needs new purchasing data from many buyers and new products. To personalise the shopping experience for the end user (SHEIN adds roughly 6,000 new items daily). 

3) Discovery-Based

  • Discovery-based shopping copies the in-store shopping experience, walking the aisles of a department store – browsing, 
  • Buyers spend time—and money—with apps they enjoy – discovery-based approach is this for many people, 

4) Timing is everything

  • Launching before the USA holidays, 
  • Spending big on paid advertising to promote the app, 
  • Very low prices,
  • Continuous scroll-discovery business model, 

It’s how Temu remains the USA’s most downloaded mobile app – ever. Temu is new and differentiated from its competitors to stand above the market’s noise. 

2023 – what is your business’s advanced demand generation strategy? 

More proven steps to lift your demand and profitability today,