The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak my Matthew Brennan, Co-founder and Managing Director of China Channel, a company that provides digital marketing services for brands wishing to perform better on WeChat and in China's digital ecosystem. Matthew is also the author of Attention Factory, The Story of TikTok & China’s ByteDance, which as many of you will know has been the subject of a ton of news and political posturing, etc. as it has absolutely taken the world by storm and you simply cannot be on social media these days without running into a TikTok short-form video, even if you’re not using the app! It’s an incredible story, driven by an incredible company, and we are thrilled to have Matthew on the show to narrate us through all of it. In part one of our discussion, we not only get some amazing background on where Bytedance, TouTiao, and TikTok came from but where they sit in the great tech puzzle of China and the secrets behind its unique algorithms that put YouTube’s stickiness to shame. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Topics Discussed and Key Points:
●      How Matthew built a fascination for WeChat and digital innovation in China
●      Writing objectively about big tech brands in a country known for heavy censorship
●      The huge potential of sharing short videos via these newest social media platforms
●      What is ByteDance, exactly?
●      How ByteDance compares to the other tech giants in China
●      What makes TikTok unique?
●      Localizing TikTok’s content in other markets
Episode Summary:
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Matthew Brennan, a highly sought-after speaker on the Chinese internet and tech innovation space, with a particular focus on WeChat and ByteDance. He is also the author of Attention Factory: The Story of TikTok and China's ByteDance (2020).
Matthew is the Co-Founder of China Channel, which “provides digital marketing services for brands wishing to perform better on WeChat and China's digital ecosystem.” China Channel also organizes “China’s largest WeChat marketing conference series for international companies, China Channel delivers regular presentations, workshops, training, and events globally about WeChat.”
Matthew says that his interest in digital innovation in China transcends geopolitics. Since writing his book, there has been a swell of controversy around TikTok as the U.S. and India worked to ban the popular social media app. Matthew, however, would rather focus on the bigger picture that is the trajectory this opens up for internet usage, globally. Short video is changing the way we use the internet, we are only in the early stages of this new trend.
Listen in as Matthew goes on to share how ByteDance and TikTok came to be and how they sparked massive innovation in the mobile landscape, as well as how ByteDance compares to China’s other tech giants today and what the future holds.
Key Quotes:
“I do believe that short video is a very important trend for internet usage, globally. What TikTok provides is a new way that people are using the internet, and it’s not going away.”
“China is all about mobile. It’s an app economy. People don’t tend to use browsers that much. Browser usage is very low in China.”
“ByteDance has the potential to be a viable option to the Facebook and Google duopoly around online advertising globally.”

What is The Negotiation?

Despite being the world’s most potent economic area, Asia can be one of the most challenging regions to navigate and manage well for foreign brands. However, plenty of positive stories exist and more are emerging every day as brands start to see success in engaging and deploying appropriate market growth strategies – with the help of specialists.

The Negotiation is an interview show that showcases those hard-to-find success stories and chats with the incredible leaders behind them, teasing out the nuances and digging into the details that can make market growth in APAC a winning proposition.