TikTok extends reach in global markets, sees in-app purchases surge more than 200%

  • TECH
  • Wednesday, 17 Apr 2019

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 14, 2018, a logo of the application TikTok is pictured in Paris. - The Indian government on April 16 ordered tech giants Google and Apple to take down the Chinese-owned Tiktok video app after a court expressed concerns over the spread of pornographic material, sources told AFP. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

The social short video app TikTok, developed by Beijing-based Bytedance, attracted 188 million new users worldwide during the quarter ended March 31, a 70% jump year on year, according to a recent report by research firm Sensor Tower.

The rapid growth was mainly driven by India where 88.6 million new users downloaded the app during the period.

TikTok also saw an in-app purchase hike of 222% year on year, hitting US$18.9mil (RM78.20mil) globally, excluding purchases from China’s third-party Android stores, said Sensor Tower.

The app, which allows users to customise videos with a variety of effects, including adding short music sound bites, was the third most installed app during the first quarter, just behind Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger.

TikTok is the first Chinese app to make significant headway outside its home market. Analysts attribute its rapid expansion globally, including in the US, to its overseas acquisitions such as musical.ly, which Bytedance merged into TikTok.

However, having a large presence in global markets means Bytedance has to comply with local regulations.

The app, which lip syncs videos of people dancing and singing to pop songs and music, is facing a licensing issue with major music labels. Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music have asked Bytedance to pay more when their current music licensing deals for TikTok expire in a few weeks, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported two weeks ago.

In February TikTok was fined US$5.7mil (RM23.58mil) to settle claims by the US government that it illegally collected personal information from children under the age of 13, such as names, email addresses, and their location.

TikTok said in a statement at the time that it is committed to “creating measures” to protect users, including tools for parents to protect their kids.

The short video app is known as Douyin in mainland China. Bytedance walls off users of Douyin and TikTok to “avoid having problematic content created outside China viewed by domestic audiences”, Samm Sacks, a China digital economy expert with New America, pointed out in a recent blog. – South China Morning Post

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