TikTok video platform vaults ahead of major US social media apps in number of downloads in October
- TikTok boosted its user base from 100 million viewers to 130 million after the merger with lip-synching app Musical.ly in August
TikTok, a short video platform developed by Beijing-based ByteDance, ranked ahead of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat in number of new US downloads from both the Google Play and Apple App Store last month, putting it the top spot in the social app category, according to app researcher Apptopia.
TikTok boosted its user base from 100 million viewers to 130 million after the merger with lip-synching app Musical.ly in August, according to Apptopia. Bytedance acquired Musical.ly last year for about US$800 million.
The ByteDance platform has seen faster growth in the US than the rest of the world, with downloads in the quarter ended October 31 up 25 per cent in the US compared with a 20 per cent rise globally.
Besides combining TikTok and Musical.ly into one, the app’s rise in popularity can be also attributed to ByteDance’s aggressive spending on advertising on Facebook and Google.
Apptopia said that in terms of engagement, TikTok was behind other big social media players, with a 28.56 per cent engagement rate compared to 95.5 per cent and 94.99 per cent for Facebook and Instagram respectively.
The ranking is for new downloads in October so it does not take into account previous downloads from established apps like Facebook, which in the second quarter of 2018 had 2.23 billion monthly active users.
TikTok’s success in the US has got the attention of Facebook which has started developing a new stand-alone lip-synching app called Lasso which targets Musical.ly's teen users.
ByteDance said that TikTok and its Chinese version Douyin together amassed 500 million global monthly active users in June. The company is reported to have secured US$3 billion in a new funding round at a valuation of US$75 billion, overtaking US ride hailing giant Uber Technologies as the world’s most valuable start-up.
ByteDance’s investors include General Atlantic, SoftBank Group Corp, KKR & Co and Primavera Capital Group, according to Crunchbase, which tracks venture capital investments.
In April ByteDance founder and chief executive Zhang Yiming issued a “self reflective” public apology after China’s central government ordered its news aggregation unit to close a popular app known for off-colour jokes.
“We let our users down by over emphasising growth and scale over quality and responsibility,” Zhang said in an open letter reminiscent of the “self criticism” of “wrongdoers” during the era of Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
Zhang, however, is now back in the good graces of the authorities, having been included in a list of 100 entrepreneurs lauded for their “great achievements in the development of the private economy” over the past 40 years.
The list was compiled by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and the United Front Work Department, a body that seeks to spread the Communist Party’s influence in non-state fields.