Amid slowing industry growth, Douyin, the local version of TikTok, is finding success in the normally staid category of financial content, potentially giving ByteDance a new source of short video revenue in a market saturated with goofy lip-synching and dance videos. Douyin is now seeing a thriving community around videos for topics ranging from macroeconomic analysis to personal wealth management. As of last November, 100 million users had engaged with such content and 29 million content creators were making it, according to a source close to the company. The popularity of financial content saw explosive growth last year. The number of creators making such content ballooned 790 per cent, while the number of people turning a profit from that content grew 133 per cent compared with the previous year, the source said. While it is unclear whether Douyin has promoted financial content, the sudden popularity of the category on a platform with 600 million daily active users could impact how financial information is created, delivered and consumed in China. Some of Douyin’s financial content creators have managed to rack up millions of followers. One of these channels, Zhinancaijing , has 7 million followers tuning in to watch the host’s over-the-top delivery of serious subject matter in videos that include cartoonish captions. “It‘s easy to make entertainment [content], there’s a lot of pretty girls and a lot of handsome boys that can dance around the videos … but it’s very hard to have good financial content,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group. “So if you’re good, you’re going to be able to get millions and millions of people watching your platform, and you can make a lot of money, and [the platform] can make a lot of money.” Internet celebrities offering rustic escapism get a government boost Operated by Beijing-based ByteDance, Douyin and TikTok helped kick off a global craze for short-form videos over the last few years. Douyin, which is largely limited to users in China, aims to ignite the next social media craze and boost the internet celebrity economy. The platform’s daily active users account for nearly two-thirds of the country’s 940 million internet users . The platform already has more than 5,000 craftsmen selling products on Douyin every day, according to an annual data report that the company published this month. One internet celebrity going by the name Tierenxiaogege made more than 4.8 million yuan (US$739,500) in a single month, the report said. The potential to profit on the platform has even enticed some users to pay around 9,800 yuan for a two-day course teaching them how to do it. However, as short video platforms have matured, penetration has plateaued. The growth of monthly active users of short video apps fell to 8.1 per cent last September, down from 22.5 per cent a year earlier, according to data from QuestMobile. To safeguard their content moats, platforms are exploring new types of content. While finance and economics is the most recent content trend on Douyin, ByteDance has also experimented with longer videos on the platform, which started streaming some feature-length films last year. ByteDance has also sought to protect its content in other areas. In an October ruling, the company was awarded 40 yuan in compensation from Baidu after the Chinese search giant republished without permission content that was exclusive to Toutiao, ByteDance’s popular news app, according to local media reports citing business registration records website QCC.com.