TikTok maker ByteDance finds new success in US with CapCut, a hit video editing app
- CapCut downloads nearly tripled to 140 million in the first half of the year, making it ByteDance’s latest hit video product on mobile
- Like TikTok, CapCut collects identifiable user information, a practice US lawmakers have raised security concerns about when coming from Chinese apps
The app, combined with its Chinese version Jianying, saw downloads reach 140 million globally in the first half of the year, up 272 per cent year on year, making it the world’s ninth-most downloaded mobile app, according to app tracking firm Sensor Tower. It has been one of the most-downloaded free iPhone apps in the US for the last couple months, temporarily topping the charts at the end of May, Sensor Tower data show.
CapCut launched globally in April 2020, nearly 11 months after Jianying launched in China. The app was designed to make video editing more accessible to beginners, including a trove of stickers, soundtracks and special effects that users can easily insert into their videos.
“Jianying has democratised video editing,” said Ye Jiatang, a short-film producer in Guangdong. “The app is really catching on among young people, many of whom now want to make vlogs and videos for a living.”
“Compared to having to use a bulky professional camera to film and transfer footage on a high-spec PC to edit, using your phone to film and edit on the go is incredibly forcing for most people,” he added.
As with many mobile apps, CapCut collects identifiable information such as how a person uses a device, network data, device manufacturer, and even user content.
The same is true of TikTok, which has given rise to security concerns in some countries as the app has become more popular around the world.
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ByteDance, like many app developers, relies on data collection to feed its algorithms that have kept users glued to its apps. Both CapCut and Jianying are free to use with no in-app purchases. Many of the app’s users appear more concerned with functionality, though.
Yong Li, a marketing professional at a listed Chinese media company in Guangzhou, said that she now cuts all her personal vlogs on her phone with Jianying.
“It is, without a doubt, far better than traditional editing software like Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro,” she said, “Obviously, it is nowhere near as powerful as those programs, but for my personal vlogs, it is more than enough.”