The Incredible Story of YITIAO (not a myth)

Started from the bottom now they’re here / YITIAO / from online digital media to offline physical stores

YiTiao is a short-video focused online digital brand which started operating in 2014 as a simple subscriber account with 20k followers on WeChat and began to focus on social e-commerce in 2016. By 2017, YiTiao had produced more than 800 short videos with digital presence on WeChat, Youku, Tudou, QQ and Sina Weibo and it is still growing, accounting more than 21 million subscribers on its official WeChat account. This very promising start-up has managed to get multiple rounds of 100+ million RMB investments and by 2016, the annual revenue of the company had already reached 300 million RMB including 100 from advertising and the other 200 from e-commerce.

Official logo


The early stage

YiTiao’s founder & CEO, a former chief editor of a popular magazine in Shanghai and China named “The Bund”, had the trending idea of creating an official WeChat account for the advertisement company he started in 2014 as an attempt to overcome the decline of China’s magazine and newspaper industry that happened back in 2013. Indeed, the same year was also the rising point of China’s adoption of the smartphone, with 300 million monthly active users in WeChat alone, surpassing the US at that time in terms of mobile users.

As WeChat became the main way of news spreading in China, YiTiao had to find an effective way to gain followers and increase its influence over their audience. On its official account, the first articles usually got over 100k view with around 800 likes. Back in 2014, an official account with 20k followers was considered a big WeChat account and Yitiao decided to invest around 1 million USD on advertising in order to grow their online community, which proved to be highly successful to spend such a big amount in the early stage.

The later stage

As China’s mobile video audience grew multiple hundred million in such a short period of time, so did YiTiao’s followers on WeChat and other video-sharing platforms. They then decided to venture themselves into social commerce due to the increasing demands and interest for their advertised products. Due to the astonishing results they had obtained from the first products they sold, they launched their own application and therefore increased the number of channels. With the approximatively 500 million Chinese middle class as their target market, we can say that the company is not and will not be on a customer shortage! Because Chinese middle class is growing very fast in terms of numbers, many of these people became well-off families, meaning an increased will to change everything at home to higher quality and better designed products. This is why YiTiao videos are focused on the content and not on the product itself.

The average view for each YiTiao video is between 100k to 3 million nowadays and the investment amount has been reduced drastically because of the greater influence the brand has on its market audience due to its flagrant success and also due to mouth-to-mouth and KOLs spreading. The average e-commerce order size is around 800 RMB and the company has reached 500 million USD of valuation in 2019!

Yitiao finally decided to implement physical stores due to the increasing demands of its customers and it is not only one, neither two but three stores that were opened consecutively last September in Shanghai! The shops are located at SkyMall in XinZhuang, Capitaland in XinTianDi and XuHui Square in Pudong.

Now hop in and let us take you for a ride!


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