Ep. 72: What makes TikTok tick: A dialogue with Eugene Wei


What makes TikTok so successful, and what might the future ownership and trajectory of the app in the U.S. be?

Episode 72 of Tech Buzz China features product expert Eugene Wei in conversation with our co-host Rui Ma on the timely topic of TikTok and the mechanics of what makes the app so successful. Tune in to learn why Rui calls TikTok an “algorithmic entertainment platform” and why Eugene terms TikTok’s algorithm the “Sorting Hat.” You’ll also learn why the app was well situated in coming out of China, and what the future ownership and trajectory of TikTok in the U.S. might be. This is a special episode for Tech Buzz — so tune in!

We recorded today’s program on the heels of President Trump’s executive order banning “any transactions” with TikTok or its parent company, ByteDance, by any U.S. resident. Though Tech Buzz usually covers Chinese tech companies in China — for example, our popular episode on ByteDance’s overall rise does just that — this headline was too significant for us to pass without a comment. After all, TikTok is the first non-utility app and consumer internet product made by a Chinese company that has really hit it big globally.

Not to mention, Rui is currently working on an e-book on ByteDance! You can get updates on it by subscribing to our newsletter, at techbuzzchina.com. As always, past transcripts and other content are also viewable at pandaily.com and supchina.com. If you enjoy our work, please do let us know by leaving us an iTunes review, and by tweeting at us at @techbuzzchina. We also read your emails, at rui@techbuzzchina.com and ying@techbuzzchina.com. Thank you to our growing community for your always valuable feedback!

We are grateful for our talented producers, Caiwei Chen and Kaiser Kuo.